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Child Abuse: What it is and Your Responsibilities 
 
by Mary M. Alward August 16, 2005

Notifying Authorities

Contact your local Child Protection Service immediately, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected. When you phone, ask to speak to someone in Intake. Once the Protection worker is on the phone, provide the following information:

  • The child’s name, age and address.

  • Why you suspect abuse or neglect.

  • The reason you are calling at this time.

  • Your assessment of any immediate danger to the child or young adult.

  • Description of behavior, disclosure or injury.

  • Your knowledge of important factors about the family.

  • Knowledge of cultural information. Is an interpreter needed?

  • Disability needs or services.

  • Any other information that you think is pertinent to the situation.

Even if you don’t have all of this information, it is imperative you notify the proper authorities. The Intake worker will help you through the process.

Stay Involved

When Child Protective Service visits the family, it may cause a crisis. Stay involved. Your responsibilities are as follow:

  • Being supportive of the victim. Let him know you are there is he wishes to talk.

  • Participating in conferences and meetings.

  • Continued monitoring of the victim to observe behavior or physical indications of abuse or neglect. (Make notes, date and sign.)

  • Providing written reports and observances to Child Protection workers and the courts.

  • Testifying in court, if necessary. Though no one likes to have to testify in court, it is mandatory for those in authority and a moral duty for citizens.

  • Helping the family to make the transition from abuse and neglect to a safe environment for the victim. This will take both time and patience.

Parental Support for Abuse Prevention

Child abuse prevention is the combined responsibility of the family, community and the State or Province. A range of services are available to families and children who need the support of agencies. Most governments have a support network in place to help families and children who are coping with child abuse and neglect. Be sure the victim and their family knows what services are available.

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