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Child Abuse / Interview With Former County Social Worker About Child Abuse

1844 words - 8 pages

What is child abuse? What if the abuser is a family member? What steps need to be followed to stop the abuse? How difficult is it to prove? Could my child be at risk? The first thought that came into my mind, this cannot happen to my child. I only leave her with close friends and family members, never with strangers. I thought only strangers abuse children. These and so many other questions and thoughts go through a parents mind when the subject of child abuse comes up. Knowing the answers and where to turn for help can alleviate many obstacles in the process.In this day and age when sexual predators seem to be in every neighborhood, parents need to be extra careful watching their children. ...view middle of the document...

Over the years since I was a child, much attention has been brought to life about abuse. Forty years ago, when a child had symptoms of child abuse, society ignored them. I was abused sexually as a small child by a trusted neighbor, but when I talked about it I was told not to lie by the minister. In later years, my mother and I discussed it and she said, "I was sexually abused by my father. Grow up and forget it and go on with your life". Today, we are told that we need to report any suspected child abuse to the authorities. We are told that we need therapy to work through the difficulties associated with the abuse. We are told that child abuse is hereditary, a cycle that will continue without professional intervention.To gain a better knowledge about child abuse, I spoke with Endré Toth, a recently retired social worker from the Geauga County Department of Jobs and Family Services on the 23 of November 2006, whose job included investigating alleged child abuse cases. When I asked him to describe what child abuse is, he told me "Child abuse is when someone causes harm to and/or neglect of a child, whether by a adult or a child. Child abuse can be physical, emotional - verbal, sexual or through neglect. The abuse can cause serious injury and may even result in death to the child. He explained in detail what the department looks for when they investigate alleged abuse cases.Toth told me that often children that have been physically abused have repeated or unexplained injuries including bruises and burns, often with other physical marks left by belts, buckles, irons, or cigarettes. A child with broken arms and legs that is too young to walk and crawl is another warning sign. If a child is overly willing to please adults, it is often due to fear of being punished for mistakes beyond their control, still another form of physical abuse. Many times when asked how a child became hurt, a parent and the childVerbal and emotional abuses are usually present when physical abuse is noted. Children can become aggressive with other children and adults. Severe emotional abuse symptoms include withdrawn behaviors, shying away from physical contact with parents, caregivers, teachers or other adults. Toth also mentioned, verbal and emotional abused children are often fearful of going home or to the places, such as childcare or school if this is where the abuse is happening.Sexual abuse, according to Toth, the worse kind of abuse a child can suffer from because it often follows the child the rest of his/her life. He also said that sexual abusers also use the emotions of a child to control the situation in such a way that many times the child will lie to protect the abuser. Toth explained that the majority of abusers that he has come in contact with in the twenty years he worked at the Geauga County Department Jobs & Family Services, are men known to the family in some way; husbands, significant others, neighbors, other relatives, etc., strangers are also...

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