(Atlantic) According to the latest numbers, Cass County ranked 17th in the state in reported cases of child abuse with 54-confirmed cases. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and today we begin a series on preventing childhood abuse and neglect.
Kristen Templeton is the facilitator for the Cass County Child Abuse Council. She says children have the right to safety and well being as they are involved in after school activities including sports, church groups, ect. She says adults should join together to create an environment where adults take action to prevent abuse before a child is harmed. Look for that person who is “too good to be true”, pushes for one on one time, and lots of physical contact such as hugging and tickling.
Templeton says Cass counties 17th place ranking is unacceptable.
“That’s not a number that we want to be at,” said Templeton. “We continue just to help people understand that we can all play a part in protecting these children and that it’s important that we intervene and stand up for these kids before something happens to them, before they are abused.”
We start our series with the warning signs of child abuse. What do we need to watch for?
Templeton said, “If you’re involved in an after school activity or you’re a volunteer and you notice that someone makes you uncomfortable they’re probably acting the same way towards a child and it’s up to us to continue to monitor that and make sure that we’re standing up and saying something if we are uncomfortable in some way.”
Templeton says another warning sign is the violation of boundaries.
“If you have boundaries set and rules set for your organization and you continue to see those boundaries being taken advantage of then we need to be able to stand up and say something also,” explained Templeton. “It’s not a good idea to be one-on-one with a child. A child should never be one-on-one with an adult alone in any situation. They should never have a discussion one-on-one behind closed doors. We should never be giving children rides home, things like that where it’s a one-on-one case because that’s when we notice that things are happening.”
Next we will address the issue of why don’t we report, which include the fear of being wrong, fear of damaging relationships and the fact that it might make things worse for the child.
April 2, 2013