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The Religious Liberty Draft Executive Order and the Risks to Children

This article is part 9 of 13 in the column Marci A. Hamilton

Much has been written about the draft religious liberty executive order that was leaked. The order is so transparently anti-LGBTQ, anti-same sex marriage, and anti-abortion, it is easy to assume these familiar issues exhaust its reach. But its reach, just like the scope of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), goes well beyond anything the religious right that obviously drafted this order either understands or, I hope, intends.

Although these hot-button issues are front and center in its crafting, historic timing, and language, its coverage is not limited to specific beliefs as it Read more

Study Shows Childhood Emotional Abuse Linked to PTSD and Opioid Abuse in Adults

This article is part 10 of 15 in the column Kid's Capital Watch

Children who experience emotional abuse are more likely to struggle with post-traumatic stress and opioid misuse as adults, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Vermont.

Though previous studies have shown there is a relationship between abuse of all kinds and substance misuse, this is the first to specifically connect emotional abuse and opioid use, the researchers said. Read more

Bipartisan “Shame Act” Would Publish Names, Photos of Child-Sex Buyers

This article is part 7 of 15 in the column Kid's Capital Watch

A bipartisan bill brought forth by Republican Rep. Ted Poe of Texas and Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York would give judges the legal power to order the publication of names and photographs of those found guilty of buying sex from sex-trafficking victims.

Called the Shame Act of 2017, H.R. 440 simply amends existing child sex-trafficking law to allow the courts to order attorneys general to release to the public names and pictures of those convicted under the code. The basic idea is captured in the name of the act—to add an element of public shaming to the sentence in hopes would-be perpetrators might think twice. Read more

There Is an Antidote to the Politics that Endanger Children

This article is part 1 of 13 in the column Marci A. Hamilton

Sometimes I feel like I should pen a letter of apology to the Framers of the Constitution. They fundamentally understood that people are inevitably tempted to abuse power and that concentrations of power are dangerous. It was a fortuitous and sage combination of common sense and the Presbyterianism of Princeton at the time. To put it a bit more simply: power must be checked, or it will run amok, and that goes double for combinations of power. And, oh yes, those who have power will work hard to be unaccountable. Power without accountability is the gravest danger we can face.

With that as the foundation, we really should be able to do better. Instead, lawmakers are increasingly the unaccountable power-grabbing people the Framers warned us about. And nowhere are our elected officials failing more spectacularly right now than in the case of child sex abuse. Read more

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

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

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