Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse

Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse


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UNDERSTANDING SB1414 (Child Protection)


Curriculum for Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse 

Child Abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse is most noticeable, there are other types of child abuse. These include, emotional, sexual and neglect. By learning about abuse and what you can do, you can make a difference in a child’s life. The earlier an abused child gets help, the better chance that child has to heal. Learn about child abuse, break the cycle, and find out how you can help. This program will show you how.

The teaching methodology for this program are: Lecture, power point presentation, video, class discussion, hands on activities, question and answer, 25 question written test, and take home study material.

Objectives: Upon completion of this workshop the participant will:         

Understand and recognize the symptoms associated with child abuse, sexual abuse, and molestation Define the effects of child abuse, sexual abuse and child molestation Know the patterns of behavior of child molesters and sex offenders Know how to minimize one-on-one isolated encounters between an adult and minor or between two minors Know the rules and procedures to address, reduce, and report child abuse, sexual abuse, molestation Have an awareness of child abusers who may be crossing the line Be aware of available hotlines and counseling services for child abusers Know what it takes for a caregiver to maintain self control Know how to talk to children who may have been abused

Myths and Truths  Myth

#1: It's only abuse if it's violent  Truth: Physical abuse is only one kind. Neglect, emotional, and sexual abuse are just as bad.  Myth

#2: Only bad people abuse children  Truth: Not all abusers intentionally harm children. Many have been victims of abuse, and don’t know how to care for children. Others may have mental or substance abuse problems.

Myths and Truths  Myth

#3: Child abuse doesn't happen in “good” families  Truth: Child abuse crosses all racial, economic, and cultural barriers. It occurs in rich and poor families.  Myth

#4: Most child abusers are strangers  Truth: Abuse by strangers does happen, but most abusers are friends and family members.

Myths and Truths  Myth

#5: Abused children always grow up to be abusers  Truth: The chances of an abused child to repeat their behavior as an adult are greater  However,

many adults who were abused as children do not grow up to be abusers and are actually protectors and excellent caregivers

The importance of child abuse education  The

earlier child abuse is detected, the better chance of recovery and treatment  By learning the warning signs of child abuse and neglect, you can stop the problem and get both, the child and the abuser help  But a warning sign doesn’t mean a child is being abused  It’s important to look deeper, looking for a pattern of abusive behavior and warning signs

What is child neglect?  Failing    

to provide for a child's basic needs:

food clothing hygiene Supervision

 Older

children may not show signs of neglect, showing competence to the outside world, and even taking care of siblings

What is child neglect?  Sometimes

a parent may be physically or mentally unable to care of a child. Due to depression, anxiety, or abuse alcohol/drugs

 Drunk

or drugged parents are unable to care for children, make good decisions, and lack self control and can lead to abuse and neglect

Warning signs of neglect in children 

Ill-fitting clothes, filthy, inappropriate for the weather

Bad hygiene, (un-bathed, unwashed hair, body odor)

Untreated illnesses and physical injuries

Frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe environments

Frequently late or missing school

What are the effects of child neglect?  Life

long pain

 Scars  

can damage a child’s:

self worth relationships with others

And their ability to function at:   

home work school

What is emotional abuse? 

Giving the child the silent treatment

Having limited physical contact —no hugs, kisses, or signs of affection

Belittling, shaming, and humiliation

Name calling and making negative comparisons

What is emotional abuse?  Telling

a child he or she is “no good," "worthless," "bad," or "a mistake“

 Yelling,

threatening, or bullying

 Ignoring

or rejecting

 Exposure

to violence

What are the effects of emotional abuse?  Being

told repeatedly that you are stupid or no good, is difficult to overcome. It becomes the child’s reality

 Self

esteem is damaged; as an adult, believes they cannot succeed

 Lack

of trust and relationship difficulties

 Difficulty

expressing emotions

What are the effects of emotional abuse?  Damages

a child’s mental health and social development

 Psychological

scars remain for a life time

 Adult

survivors struggle with unexplained anxiety, depression, or anger

 Adults/Children

forget the pain

may turn to alcohol or drugs to

Warning signs of emotional abuse in children  Excessively

withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong  Extremes in behavior (extremely compliant, extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive)  Lack of attachment to parent or caregiver  Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, tantrums)

Discipline Vs Physical Abuse  There

is a difference between discipline and physical abuse

 Discipline  Physical

teaches right from wrong

abuse creates fear

What is physical abuse?  Physical

harm or injury to the child

 Severe

discipline; using a belt or inappropriate physical punishment for the age of the child

 Restraining  Exposure  Forcing

a child against their will

to extreme heat or cold

a child to overeat

What is physical abuse? 

Unpredictability of a physical assault. Having no clear boundaries or rules. Child is never sure what behavior will trigger a physical assault.

Lashing out in anger. Caregivers act out of anger. The angrier the adult, the more intense the physical abuse.

Using fear of physical punishment to control behavior. What the child is learning is how to avoid being hit, not how to behave.

Substance abuse also commonly leads to physical abuse

Warning signs of physical abuse in children  Unexplained

bruises, welts, or cuts  Always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen  Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt  Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home  Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days

What is sexual abuse?  Exposure

to sexual situations or material  Touching or fondling the private body parts of a child  Sexual intercourse with a child  Having the child touch or fondle the private parts of an adult  Seductive touching or kissing a child

Who is at risk?  It’s

not just girls who are at risk of sexual abuse. Boys and girls both suffer from sexual abuse

 Sexual

abuse of boys may be under reported due to shame and stigma

Effects of sexual abuse:  Creates

guilt and shame  Besides physical and emotional damage, sexual abuse causes life time problems  Tormented by shame and guilt. Child may feel responsible for the abuse or feel they brought it upon themselves  Can lead to self-loathing and sexual problems as they grow older— excessive promiscuity or an inability to have intimate relations  Shame makes it very difficult for children to come forward. May worry that others won’t believe them or will be angry at them

Warning signs of sexual abuse in children: 

Trouble walking or sitting

Knowledge or interest in sexual acts or seductive behavior

Avoids a specific person, no obvious reason

Refuses to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities

Pregnancy under the age of 14

Runs away from home

Tips for talking to an abused child 

Avoid denial and remain calm. A common reaction to child abuse is denial and shock. If you display denial, shock or disgust, the child may be afraid and will shut down. Remain reassuring.

Don’t interrogate. Let the child explain to you in his or her own words. Don’t interrogate or ask leading questions. This confuses and flusters the child.

Tips for talking to an abused child  Reassure

the child that they did nothing wrong. Reassure the child that you take what is said seriously, and that it is not the child’s fault

 Safety

comes first. If your safety or the safety of the child may be threatened if you try to intervene, leave it to the professionals

Awareness about child molesters  The

belief that a child will be kidnapped and forcibly molested is unlikely  Although these incidents do happen, the majority of child molesters are adults who seduce children with subtle intimidation and persuasion, and are known to the child or the parents  Sexual predators are scary; however sexual abuse is more common at the hands of someone the child knows and trusts— close relatives and friends

Patterns of behaviors of child molesters  He/she

may pretend to be friendly and trustworthy

 Make

children feel comfortable by relating to their interests

 Prefer

to have children as friends rather than adult friends

Patterns of behaviors of child molesters  May

talk with children as one would talk to an adult in order to equalize the relationship

 May

prefer children in a specific age group and one gender over the other

 May

work or volunteer with programs involving children

 Will

try to make friendships; for example, a mom’s boyfriend spending time with a child and talking about feelings for the child and his own loneliness to gain sympathy

Patterns of behaviors of child molesters  May

take photographs of victims: dressed, nude, or in sexual acts

 May

collect child erotica and child-adult pornography, fantasize when no victim is available; relive past sexual activities; justify inappropriate sexual behavior; or blackmail victims to keep them from telling

 May

use methods like force, fear, bribery or tricks

Patterns of behaviors of child molesters  May

give alcohol or drugs to potential victims to lower inhibitions or gain favor

 May

seek out organizations that support sexual beliefs and practices

 May

offer to babysit or take children on trips in order to manipulate situations to be near or molest children.

Supervise children at all times 

Children are not to be left alone in offices or classrooms without adults present

Supervision by a parent of their own children meets the requirements above

Parents should be informed of that supervision before; between and after scheduled classes are the parent’s responsibility

Preventing one-on-one encounters  Organizations

need to follow the two person rule

 Children

should be told to avoid one on one encounters with adults and instructed where to go in case they are left alone with an adult

Children should be taught that it's okay to say "no" to anyone who tries to harm them and run away to safety

Let the child know that it’s OK to scream if someone is trying to hurt them

Follow the two person rule  When

interacting with children who are in attendance there must be at least two (2) caregivers present, one of whom is at least eighteen (18) years of age

 Present

means no less than one person in the room itself and one nearby observing

Minimize one on one encounters A

stranger offering a child a ride


stranger asking a child for help


stranger offering candy or money

 An

adult walking a child away to an

isolated area  Meeting  Closed  Out

a minor at Starbucks for coffee

door office meetings with minors

of town field trips/over night events

How do you know if per someone is crossing the line?

 The

person can’t control their anger. May start as a small reprimand but gradually raises their voice until they shouting and yelling.

 The

person feels disconnected. Person feels overwhelmed; does not want to deal with a child’s misbehavior. Person wants to be left alone and for the child to be quiet.

 Other

people have expressed concern. Consider carefully what people are saying about that person. Denial is not an uncommon reaction.

Professional help is available  Professional

help is available: Breaking the cycle of abuse can be very difficult if the patterns are strongly entrenched.

If a person can’t seem to stop no matter how hard they try, it’s time to get help; be in therapy, take child guidance classes, or take other interventions.

What caregivers should know about self control 

Learn how to get your emotions under control. Be aware of your emotions

If a person is temperamental, reactive, or has a “short fuse,” they will have a difficult time getting in touch with their level of emotions

Count to ten, take a deep slow breaths , and think before you act and respond

What caregivers should know about self control  Take

care of yourself. You need to rest. Not enough rest and support, or feeling overwhelmed, makes a person more susceptible to anger

 Anger

causes stress and over the long run will hurt you physically, mentally and emotionally

 People

who are under constant stress, get sick more often, age quicker, and die sooner

Caregivers may need to recognize abusive behavior in themselves Professional help is available…..  Call

1-800-4-A-CHILD to find support and resources that can help you break the cycle of abuse

 1-888-PREVENT

(1-888-773-8368)Stop It Now

 1-800-422-4453  1-800-656-4673

Crisis Counseling Help

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Reporting child abuse  If

you suspect child abuse, it’s your responsibility to see that the child gets help

 Many

people are reluctant to report child abuse

 Understanding

some of the concerns behind reporting may help put your mind at ease

Concerns about reporting child abuse I

don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. Child abuse effects are lifelong, affecting relationships, self-esteem, and putting more children at risk. Help break the cycle.

 What

if I break up someone’s home? A report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home - unless the child is clearly in danger.

Concerns about reporting child abuse  They

will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse.

 What

I have to say It won’t make a difference. Better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse.

Where do I report violations of child abuse 

Your Department Head

Employee Relations Department: 915-831-6630

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services  1-800-252-5400

EL Paso Child Protective Services  915-542-4535  915-629-3321  915-747-4671

Or call the Stop It Now helpline to report any sexual abuse of children at (888) PREVENT - that is, (888) 773-8368

Sources       emotional_sexual_negl... scan.cfm :// ritual_Formation/Child%20Protection%20Policy .pdf)