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Ten Reasons Children Don’t Disclose Abuse

This article is part 15 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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One challenge in stopping child sexual abuse is that it is often perpetrated in secrecy—a secrecy that the majority of child victims maintains.

There is overwhelming evidence that most child victims delay or never disclose child sexual abuse to friends, family members, or the authorities.1

A large adult retrospective study determined that 21.2 percent of survivors disclosed their abuse promptly; 21.3 percent disclosed abuse from one month to five years after it occurred; and the majority, 57.5 percent, delayed disclosure for more than five years.1 Many of us may scratch our heads and wonder, “Why in the Read more

4 Holiday Safety Basics for Kids

This article is part 13 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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Holiday season is when families and friends gather to celebrate. Sadly, it’s also a time of year that presents sexual predators with opportunities to prey on child victims.

While many may think we only need to worry about strangers harming our kids, we should all keep in mind that the true danger lies in our own circles of trust. Here are some sobering facts all parents should know about sexual predators:

  • Ninety percent of sexually abused children know, love or trust their molesters
  • Nearly sixty percent of sexual predators who harm children are known by the victims’ families
  • Approximately thirty percent of children who are sexually abused are molested by a member of their family (for example, a parent, stepparent, grandparent, sibling, cousin, aunt, or uncle)

Read more

Teen Drug Use: It All Starts With Smoking

This article is part 12 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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Trying to stay informed about the illicit temptations thrown at kids can leave a parent—or anyone working with children—begging for mercy. I’m in that boat as I try to keep up with the latest teenage drug trends.

Seeking information and guidance, I turned to Sheriff Michael Nielsen of Boone County, Indiana, where my hometown is located, for a crash course in teenage drug use. Sheriff Nielsen graciously shared some basic facts he learned while working with teens and young adults in our community.

“It all starts with tobacco use,” Sheriff Nielsen said. “Smoking leads to alcohol, which leads to marijuana, which leads to harder drugs.” The Sheriff is candid about his former addiction to tobacco and its hold on people who use it. He adds, “As strong as tobacco is, just think of … the power drugs have over people.”

To better understand the issue, here are the drugs of choice for kids and teens: Read more

The Signs and Significance of Unintentional Abuse

This article is part 11 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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Is there such a thing as unintentional abuse? Absolutely. I experienced it myself.

Author, therapist, and PsychCentral.com columnist Támara Hill, MS, NCC, LPC-BE, MS, specializes in working with children and adolescents suffering from behavioral and mood disorders. She helped educate me about the realities of unintentional abuse and what it looks like.

So, what exactly is it?

Hill notes that unintentional abuse is often perpetrated by someone emotionally unavailable to provide adequate emotional or physical care to a child. The unintentional abuser does not maliciously intend to harm or intimidate a child but does just that through: Read more

Teamwork Is Key in Child Abuse Cases

This article is part 10 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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In 2015, nearly 312,000 children were interviewed at child advocacy centers around the country.  These were alleged victims of sexual or physical abuse (or neglect) or had witnessed the abuse or maltreatment of someone else.

Integral to the investigation of these cases—and to the continued safety and welfare of the vulnerable children—are multidisciplinary teams (MDTs). These special teams, composed of child protection professionals, work in tandem to explore the details of abuse allegations as well as provide necessary trauma assessments and treatment to child victims and their families.  While structure and individual team protocol vary based on community needs, MDT members can include the following: Read more

Strangulation’s Unwitting Victims: Children

This article is part 9 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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What widespread act of domestic and intimate partner violence often leaves no visible sign of injury, yet contributes to 10 percent of violent deaths in the United States? Strangulation.

It can take only 10 seconds, under a slight 11 pounds of pressure, for a strangulation victim to lose consciousness. Death can follow in five minutes or less. Related health symptoms and even loss of life can occur years later.

The fact is that strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence. As mentioned in the August-September 2014 issue of the Domestic Violence Report, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence conducted a statewide survey on strangulation in 2011 and found the following regarding the 151 survivors who participated: Read more

Statute of Limitations Impedes Child Justice

This article is part 8 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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In October 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, his brother, and a friend were riding their bikes near their homes in St. Joseph, Minnesota, when a masked man kidnapped Jacob at gunpoint. He ordered the other boys to run into a nearby wooded area, threatening to shoot them if they looked back.

For nearly 27 years, no one knew what had happened to Jacob, despite a massive search effort. Recently Danny Heinrich, a 52 year old man being held on child pornography charges, provided officials details about Jacob’s remains, which were subsequently recovered in an undisclosed location in central Minnesota. Read more

An Inside Look at a Child Forensic Interview

This article is part 7 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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Every 10 seconds, an allegation of child abuse is made in the United States. Once reported, an investigation begins that ideally includes a child forensic interview conducted at a Child Advocacy Center (CAC).

Designed as safe, neutral, and child-friendly environments, the CAC model reduces trauma to alleged child victims and their families by utilizing a multidisciplinary approach that facilitates collaboration among investigative agencies and advocacy support organizations. This collaboration streamlines investigations, potential prosecutions, and the medical and mental health support of child victims. Read more

Poverty’s Influence on Child Abuse

Photo Urban Baltimore
This article is part 6 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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Twenty-two percent of children in the United States live in families with incomes below the poverty level. While this alone is a frightening statistic, it becomes even more alarming when you realize that poverty has a direct correlation to child maltreatment.

A 2010 study of child abuse and neglect led by Andrea J. Sedlak, PhD, found that children living in lower-income or poverty-level households are three times more likely to become victims of neglect, or physical or sexual abuse. In most cases one or more parent is the perpetrator. Read more

Self-Harm and Kids: Why They Do It. How We Can Help.

Teen girl hand on floor with pills
This article is part 5 of 15 in the column BeAKidsHero™

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Why do children cut, burn, hit or poison themselves? The cause is often a feeling of despair or untreated mental illness and depression.

And it’s a growing issue among pre-teens and teens. Nearly 2 million cases of self-harm are reported each year, but the actual number may be higher, as a majority of those engaging in self-injurious behavior (SIB) conceal their activity.

According to updated data on self-harm from HealthyPlace.com

  • One in five females and one in seven males engage in self-harm yearly
  • Ninety percent of those who engage in self-harm begin in the pre-teen or teen years
  • Nearly 50 percent have been sexually abused
  • Many learn how to inflict harm from friends or pro self-injury websites

Read more

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