Tag Archives: Child Sexual Abuse

Georgia State University: Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds

30 Mar

Most people do not want people, especially children, abused. One means of early intervention is mandatory reporting of suspected abuse by certain groups like teachers or medical personnel. Accessing Safety lists the pros and cons of mandatory reporting:

Pros
Supporters of mandatory reporting believe that mandatory reporting can enhance victim/survivor safety by:
• linking people with services that will provide information and referrals to improve their living situations,
• getting victim/survivors away from abusers and perpetrators;
• reporting violence, abuse, and sexual assault to increase the number of cases reaching authorities and being documented, thereby increasing an understanding of the prevalence of such violence and its incidence; and
• offering an opportunity to provide training on issues of violence to professionals and persons who are mandatory reporters.
Cons
Some feel that mandatory reporting may create more harm than good. They believe that risks and consequences of mandatory reporting can include:
• retaliation by abuser/perpetrator/stalker,
• broken trust and confidentiality,
• damage to an individuals’ right to self-determination, an issue that is of particular concern when working with people with disabilities, and
• damaging the relationship between the victim/survivor and service provider, and, ultimately, leading to victims/survivors not seeking help or not returning to services…. http://www.accessingsafety.org/index.php?page=137

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352). See, Ohio v. Clark. Supreme Court Summary and Analysis by Sandra Tibbetts Murphy, July 2015 http://www.bwjp.org/assets/documents/pdfs/ohio-v-clark-supreme-court-summary.pdf and https://drwilda.com/tag/child-abuse/

Science Daily reported in Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds:

Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.
Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs.
They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015. For nonfatal cases of child sexual abuse, the estimated lifetime cost is $282,734 per female victim. There was insufficient information on productivity losses for male victims, which contributed to a lower estimated lifetime cost of $74,691. The findings are published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect….
The World Health Organization defines child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, is not developmentally prepared or violates the laws and social taboos of society. It is the activity between a child — anyone under the age of 18 in most states — and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a position of responsibility, trust or power.
Child sexual abuse includes commercial sexual exploitation and the use of children in pornographic performance and materials. The estimated prevalence rates of exposure to child sexual abuse by 18 years old are 26.6 percent for U.S. girls and 5.1 percent for U.S. boys. International rates of exposure are often higher in low- and middle-income countries. The effects of child sexual abuse include increased risk for development of severe mental, physical and behavioral health disorders; sexually transmitted diseases; self-inflicted injury, substance abuse and violence; and subsequent victimization and criminal offending.
The researchers examined data from 20 new cases of fatal child sexual abuse and 40,387 new cases of nonfatal child sexual abuse that occurred in 2015. The data were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System of the Children’s Bureau and child maltreatment reports issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180329190842.htm

Citation:

Child sexual abuse in US costs up to $1.5 million per child death, study finds
Date: March 29, 2018
Source: Georgia State University
Summary:
Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.

Journal Reference:
1. Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Derek S. Brown, Xiangming Fang, Ahmed Hassan, James A. Mercy. The economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States. Child Abuse & Neglect, 2018; 79: 413 DOI: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.02.020

Here is the press release from Georgia State University:

Child Sexual Abuse in U.S. Costs Up to $1.5 Million Per Child Death
March 28, 2018
Media Contact
LaTina Emerson
Public Relations Coordinator
Georgia State University
404-413-1353
lemerson1@gsu.edu
ATLANTA—Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.
Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs.
They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015. For nonfatal cases of child sexual abuse, the estimated lifetime cost is $282,734 per female victim. There was insufficient information on productivity losses for male victims, which contributed to a lower estimated lifetime cost of $74,691. The findings are published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.
“This study reveals that the economic burden of child sexual abuse is substantial and signifies recognition that reducing children’s vulnerability will positively and directly impact the nation’s economic and social well-being and development,” said Dr. Xiangming Fang, associate professor of health management and policy in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. “We hope our research will bring attention to the need for increased prevention efforts for child sexual abuse.”
The World Health Organization defines child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, is not developmentally prepared or violates the laws and social taboos of society. It is the activity between a child – anyone under the age of 18 in most states – and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a position of responsibility, trust or power.
Child sexual abuse includes commercial sexual exploitation and the use of children in pornographic performance and materials. The estimated prevalence rates of exposure to child sexual abuse by 18 years old are 26.6 percent for U.S. girls and 5.1 percent for U.S. boys. International rates of exposure are often higher in low- and middle-income countries. The effects of child sexual abuse include increased risk for development of severe mental, physical and behavioral health disorders; sexually transmitted diseases; self-inflicted injury, substance abuse and violence; and subsequent victimization and criminal offending.
The researchers examined data from 20 new cases of fatal child sexual abuse and 40,387 new cases of nonfatal child sexual abuse that occurred in 2015. The data were obtained from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System of the Children’s Bureau and child maltreatment reports issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Co-authors of the study include Elizabeth J. Letourneau of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Derek S. Brown of Washington University in St. Louis, Ahmed Hassan of the University of Toronto and James A. Mercy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study is funded by the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
To read the study, visit https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014521341830084X.
Featured Researcher
Dr. Xiangming Fang
Associate Professor
School of Public Health
Dr. Xiangming Fang is associate professor of Health Management & Policy in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
His primary research interests include economic evaluation of health interventions, public policy analysis, violence prevention and food safety.

Child Information Welfare Gateway has an excellent guide for how to spot child abuse and neglect The full list of symptoms is at the site, but some key indicators are:

The Child:
Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
Lacks adult supervision
Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
The Parent:
Shows little concern for the child
Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and Child:
Rarely touch or look at each other
Consider their relationship entirely negative
State that they do not like each other
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/whatiscan.pdf#page=5&view=Recognizing%20Signs%20of%20Abuse%20and%20Neglect

If people suspect a child is being abused, they must get involved. Every Child Matters is very useful and can be found at http://www.everychildmatters.org/ and another organization, which fights child abuse is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform http://nccpr.info/ People must push for tougher standards against child abuse.

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy social in a healthy neighborhood (c)

Resources:

Chronic Child Neglect
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/chronic-neglect/

Chronic Neglect Can Lead to Aggression in Kids
https://psychcentral.com/news/2015/04/22/chronic-neglect-can-lead-to-aggression-in-kids/83788.html

Child Neglect
https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/child-neglect

Neglect
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/deep-dives/neglect/

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Protecting your child from predators

24 Jun

Frequently there are reports in the media that some adult occupying a position of trust has abused that trust and inappropriately had contact with a minor child. Adults accused of inappropriate contact come from all social strata, religions, races, and occupations. Bonnie Rochman writes in the Time article, After the Sandusky Verdict, Lessons for Parents about the predator next door.

It goes without saying that conscientious parents would go to great lengths to spare their children from such experiences. And experts say the Sandusky trial revealed many valuable lessons for parents looking to do just that.

Lesson No. 1: One not-so-obvious insight? Don’t tell secrets…. When children are being molested, the perpetrator tells them, ‘This is a secret. Don’t tell anybody.’ So we encourage parents to not include kids in secrets. Talk instead in terms of surprises.”

Lesson No. 2: Be leery of any adult who seems smitten with your kid. Child molesters are savvy; they often prey on vulnerable kids — poor children, or those whose parents aren’t often around….

As a parent who has gone through the aftermath of sexual abuse and studied a lot about pedophile tactics, the allegations against Jerry Sandusky are a classic case of child sexual predator and pedophile grooming. The prosecution has done well in explaining the consistent and predictable grooming process that Jerry Sandusky employed — from building trust with his victims, to currying favor and control by buying them gifts and giving them access to the Penn State football program, and then forcing them to participate in sex acts and then remain quiet about it.

Jerry Sandusky groomed his victims so well that some of them have kept in touch with him as recently as two years ago. Many from the defense are asking why would they, in fact, do such a thing if it were true that Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused them. But that is how predators work. They manipulate children and control them by bribing, brainwashing, threatening, controlling and embarrassing them.Lesson No. 3: Perhaps most important is simply paying attention to your kids’ rhythms and learning to recognize potential signs of abuse: changes in mood, behavior or school performance and reluctance to participate in activities.

Lesson No. 4: It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about what kinds of touches are appropriate….

Lesson No. 5: Keep the conversation going as kids become teens. It’s a mistake to assume that most children will readily tell a grown-up they’ve been sexually assaulted….

Lesson No. 6: Listen when kids talk. One of Sandusky’s victims said he’d told guidance counselors that he’d been abused but he wasn’t believed….
http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/23/after-the-sandusky-verdict-lessons-for-parents/

If a child is involved, the following activities are a few examples considered to be sexual abuse:

· Touching of a child’s private parts

· A child touching someone else’s genitals

· Sexual intercourse

· Obscene phone calls

· Watching sexual activity

Keep in mind these examples do not constitute a legal definition of sexual abuse. Each state defines what constitutes sexual abuse in that state. Generally, sexual abuse occurs when an adult person makes sexual contact with a child or there is forced sexual contact by a peer of the child.

Questions to Ask Childcare Providers and Caregivers

The Attorney General of the State of Hawaii has an excellent resource about questions to ask a care provider. Hawaii Attorney General Among their suggestions are:

While not a guarantee against acts of sexual exploitation being committed, it is a good idea to select a licensed facility that conducts criminal history- background checks on its employees and volunteers. When you have chosen a daycare provider, the best way to get to know the staff and observe their behavior firsthand is to involve yourself in some way in the activities of the center by volunteering to assist on field trips or for special events.

Visit prospective daycare centers, take a tour, and interview the daycare staff while personally observing their interaction with your children and the other children. Look for mature and responsible people who listen and respond well to your children and appear relaxed and happy with them. Also arrange to meet with other individuals who may have contact with your child such as bus drivers, janitors, and relatives of the daycare personnel. Visit unannounced. When you have a list of possible daycare centers, carefully check their references. Contact local law enforcement, county licensing agencies, and the department of social services to determine if any reports have been made about the daycare provider. Check state sex-offender registries, which are generally accessible through your state law enforcement agency.

Be suspicious of any care provider that will not allow you to drop in unannounced and will not allow you unlimited access to the facility.

What is a Criminal Background Check?

The legal definition of a “criminal background check” focuses upon the review of public records.  Legal Definition of Criminal Background Check

A criminal history background information check is the review of any and all records containing any information collected and stored in the criminal record repository of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state Department of Public Safety, or any other repository of criminal history records, involving a pending arrest or conviction by a criminal justice agency, including, but not limited to, child abuse crime information, conviction record information, fingerprint cards, correctional induction and release information, identifiable descriptions and notations of convictions; provided, however, dissemination of such information is not forbidden by order of any court of competent jurisdiction or by federal law. Criminal history background information generally does not include any analytical records or investigative reports that contain criminal intelligence information or criminal investigation information….

Parents should be aware of any criminal record, but they should focus on crimes of violence and sexual crimes like rape. Is the person a known registered sex offender?

The US Department of State describes the different ways that an individual can demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record.State Department Criminal Records Check

LOCAL POLICE CHECK: Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way they deem appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.

FBI RECORDS CHECK: The Criminal Justice Information Services  centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting awritten request to the CJIS . The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the $18 processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided.

If you are interested in a criminal background check, the CASA program lists resources for each state.Casa State Background List

How to Recognize Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children

Shelia Wilkinson describes signs of sexual abuse in children. Sexual Abuse Behaviors Among the signs she tells parents to observe are:

1. Pay attention to your child’s posture. If your child suddenly has pain or difficulty sitting or walking, talk to them. Check out their bodies but be prepared that they may fight you on this. Abusers often threaten to harm the children or their families or pets and your child may be terrified.

2. Look for adult behaviors. Suddenly seductive rubbing on or around the genital area, using sexual words or adult, flirty behavior. …

3. Watch for sudden shyness or fearfulness. Refusing suddenly to change in front of others or in gym class is common. So are nightmares, bedwetting and sleeplessness….

4. Know your child’s habits. Are they suddenly eating a great deal more or less? Do they want to be alone more or never alone at all? Are they afraid or reluctant to go places they always enjoyed? Do they talk about or try running away? Daycare, school, friends’ and relatives’ homes, the nursery at church, all seem like safe places but these are the places where kids most often get abused.

5. For older children, pregnancy or contracting an STD may not be promiscuity. It may be sexual abuse. ….

6. Talk to others–discreetly. Getting to know your child’s teachers, principal, nursery workers and sitters is extremely important if you want to ensure your child’s safety.

7. Listen to your child. The last warning sign is the most important. If your child talks about or reports sexual abuse, believe it to be true. The evidence is very clear that this is not something that children make up…..

8. Remember to take action if you have suspicions…..

Don’t be afraid to gently ask your child about their experiences in different settings like school, daycare or recreational activities. Listen to them and any cues they provide. Abuse sometimes happens to infants and toddlers. Since an infant is too young to verbalize what is happening there are certain signs that a parent should look for. Dr. F. Felicia Ferrara’s video describes what parents should observe in infants and toddlers. Infant and Toddler Abuse Parents should look for strange rashes and an unusual fear of people as possible clues that something might be wrong.

What to do if You Suspect Your Child has been Abused or Molested

The National Child Trauma Stress Network has excellent resource material available.NationalTrauma Stress Network They suggest the following actions’ if you suspect your child has been abused:

1. Stay calm…..

2. Believe your child, and let your child know that he or she is not to blame for what happened. Praise your child for being brave and for telling about the sexual abuse.

3. Protect your child by getting him or her away from the abuser and immediately reporting the abuse to local authorities. If you are not sure who, to contact, call the ChildHelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453; http:// http://www.childhelp.org/get_help) or, for immediate help, call 911.

4. Get help. In addition to getting medical care to address any physical damage your child may have suffered (including sexually transmitted diseases), it is important that your child have an opportunity to talk with a mental health professional who specializes in child sexual abuse. Therapy has been shown to successfully reduce distress in families and the effects of sexual abuse on children. Many communities have local Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) that offer coordinated support and services to victims of child abuse, including sexual abuse. For a state-by-state listing of accredited CACs, visit the website of the National Children’s Alliance

5. Reassure your child that he or she is loved, accepted and an important family member. Don’t make promises you can’t keep (such as saying you won’t tell anyone about the abuse), but let your child know that you will do everything in your power to protect him or her from harm.

6. Keep your child informed about what will happen next, particularly with regard to legal actions. (For more information on helping abused children cope with the stress of dealing with the legal system, see the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s factsheet, Child Sexual Abuse: Coping with the Emotional Stress of the Legal System, available on the web.

It is not the child’s fault that he or she has been abused It is the fault of the abuser and parents must emphasize that what occurred is not the child’s fault.

What can Parents do to Prevent Their Child from being a Victim

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should take the following steps. Sex Abuse Prevention

· Talk to your child about sexual abuse. If your child’s school sponsors a sexual abuse program, discuss what he learned.

· Teach your child which body parts are private (parts covered by a bathing suit) and the proper names of those parts. Let him know that his body belongs to him. Tell him to yell “no” or “stop” to anyone who may threaten him sexually.

· Listen when your child tries to tell you something, especially when it seems hard for him to talk about it. Make sure your child knows it’s OK to tell you about any attempt to molest him or touch him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable, no matter who the abuser may be. Let him know he can trust you and that you will not be angry with him if he tells you.

· Give your child enough time and attention. Weekly family meetings can be used to talk about all good and bad experiences.

· Know the adults and children with whom your child is spending time. Be careful about allowing your child to spend time alone or in out-of-the-way places with other adults or older children. Make visits to your child’s caregiver without notice. Ask your child about his visits to the caregiver or with child sitters.

· Never let your child enter a stranger’s home without a parent or trusted adult. Door-to-door fund-raising is particularly risky for unsupervised children.

· Check to see if your child’s school has an abuse prevention program for the teachers and children. If it doesn’t, start one.

· Tell someone in authority if you suspect that your child or someone else’s child is being abused.

The world can sometimes harbor dangers, but parents must be ever vigilant and always aware of their child’s world to prevent predators from robbing their child of their childhood. Hopefully, the vigilance of the parents and the community will prevent more children from an experience that will take away their childhood and sometimes can take their life.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Adult Predators: Teaching children about boundaries

30 Dec

Frequently there are reports in the media that some adult occupying a position of trust has abused that trust and inappropriately had contact with a minor child. Adults accused of inappropriate contact come from all social strata, religions, races, and occupations. Seattle PI.Com is reporting in the article, Voice teacher accused of persuading student to strip to sing better:

A former community college instructor in Tacoma faces accusations that he convinced a student that she could improve her vocal range by getting naking or touching herself sexually.

The News Tribune says Kevin Gausepohl, 37, is charged with seven counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and one count of obstructing a law enforcement officer. The charges he faces are midemeanors.

He is a former music instructor at Tacoma Community College. He is accused of telling a Gig Harbor student — a 17-year-old girl attending college as part of the Running Start program — that he was studying how sexual arousal could change vocal range.    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Vocal-teacher-accused-of-persuading-student-to-2432792.php#ixzz1i3Z9NVlf

This guy abused his authority and violated his position of trust.

A rudimentary definition of sexual abuse is found at the link Sexual Abuse:

If a child is involved, the following activities are a few examples considered to be sexual abuse:

· Touching of a child’s private parts

· A child touching someone else’s genitals

· Sexual intercourse

· Obscene phone calls

· Watching sexual activity

Keep in mind these examples do not constitute a legal definition of sexual abuse. Each state defines what constitutes sexual abuse in that state. Generally, sexual abuse occurs when an adult person makes sexual contact with a child or there is forced sexual contact by a peer of the child.

For a good description of personal boundaries see the descriptions by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen who describes both healthy and unhealthy boundaries. 

A personal boundary is a space around yourself that gives you a clear sense of who you are and where you’re going. When you choose who you allow into your physical, emotional and mental space you’re activating your personal boundaries.

For example, if your mother or child asks for a ride to the mall and you can’t say no without guilt, then you’re not protecting your personal boundaries. If your colleague consistently sloughs off her work for you to do and you haven’t figured out how to stop, then you’re not protecting your personal boundaries.

The key to healthy relationships is a strong sense of personal boundaries. If your boundaries are collapsed or inflexible, your relationships will suffer….

Healthy Boundaries

Personal boundaries are evident and effective when you know who you are, and treat yourself and others with respect. If you have healthy boundaries, you may:

Feel free to say yes or no without guilt, anger or fear.

Refuse to tolerate abuse or disrespect.

Know when a problem is yours or another person’s – and refuse to take on others’ problems.

Have a strong sense of identity.

Respect yourself.

Share responsibility with others, and expect reciprocity in relationships.

Feel freedom, security, peace, joy and confidence.

How do you set healthy boundaries?

Setting healthy boundaries involves taking care of yourself and knowing what you like, need, want, and don’t want. The best time to set personal boundaries is before they’re being encroached upon.

Two steps to healthy personal boundaries:

Be honest with yourself with your true feelings and opinions.

Share your feelings and opinions with others.

The college professor was not who many feel would fit the picture of a molester, but he was. So, are the Mary Kays of this world, molesters all.

What is a Criminal Background Check?

The legal definition of a “criminal background check” focuses upon the review of public records. Legal Definition of Criminal Background Check

A criminal history background information check is the review of any and all records containing any information collected and stored in the criminal record repository of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state Department of Public Safety, or any other repository of criminal history records, involving a pending arrest or conviction by a criminal justice agency, including, but not limited to, child abuse crime information, conviction record information, fingerprint cards, correctional induction and release information, identifiable descriptions and notations of convictions; provided, however, dissemination of such information is not forbidden by order of any court of competent jurisdiction or by federal law. Criminal history background information generally does not include any analytical records or investigative reports that contain criminal intelligence information or criminal investigation information….

Parents should be aware of any criminal record, but they should focus on crimes of violence and sexual crimes like rape. Is the person a known registered sex offender?

The US Department of State describes the different ways that an individual can demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record. State Department Criminal Records Check

LOCAL POLICE CHECK: Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way they deem appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.

FBI RECORDS CHECK: The Criminal Justice Information Services  centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting a written request to the CJIS . The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the $18 processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided.

If you are interested in a criminal background check, the CASA program lists resources for each state. Casa State Background List

How to Recognize Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children

Shelia Wilkinson describes signs of sexual abuse in children. Sexual Abuse Behaviors Among the signs she tells parents to observe are:

1. Pay attention to your child’s posture. If your child suddenly has pain or difficulty sitting or walking, talk to them. Check out their bodies but be prepared that they may fight you on this. Abusers often threaten to harm the children or their families or pets and your child may be terrified.

2. Look for adult behaviors. Suddenly seductive rubbing on or around the genital area, using sexual words or adult, flirty behavior. …

3. Watch for sudden shyness or fearfulness. Refusing suddenly to change in front of others or in gym class is common. So are nightmares, bedwetting and sleeplessness….

4. Know your child’s habits. Are they suddenly eating a great deal more or less? Do they want to be alone more or never alone at all? Are they afraid or reluctant to go places they always enjoyed? Do they talk about or try running away? Daycare, school, friends’ and relatives’ homes, the nursery at church, all seem like safe places but these are the places where kids most often get abused.

5. For older children, pregnancy or contracting an STD may not be promiscuity. It may be sexual abuse. ….

6. Talk to others–discreetly. Getting to know your child’s teachers, principal, nursery workers and sitters is extremely important if you want to ensure your child’s safety.

7. Listen to your child. The last warning sign is the most important. If your child talks about or reports sexual abuse, believe it to be true. The evidence is very clear that this is not something that children make up…..

8. Remember to take action if you have suspicions…..

Don’t be afraid to gently ask your child about their experiences in different settings like school, daycare or recreational activities. Listen to them and any cues they provide. Abuse sometimes happens to infants and toddlers. Since an infant is too young to verbalize what is happening there are certain signs that a parent should look for. Dr. F. Felicia Ferrara’s video describes what parents should observe in infants and toddlers. Infant and Toddler Abuse Parents should look for strange rashes and an unusual fear of people as possible clues that something might be wrong.

What to do if You Suspect Your Child has been Abused or Molested

The National Child Trauma Stress Network  has excellent resource material available. National Trauma Stress Network They suggest the following actions’ if you suspect your child has been abused:

1. Stay calm…..

2. Believe your child, and let your child know that he or she is not to blame for what happened. Praise your child for being brave and for telling about the sexual abuse.

3. Protect your child by getting him or her away from the abuser and immediately reporting the abuse to local authorities. If you are not sure who, to contact, call the ChildHelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453; http:// http://www.childhelp.org/get_help) or, for immediate help, call 911.

4. Get help. In addition to getting medical care to address any physical damage your child may have suffered (including sexually transmitted diseases), it is important that your child have an opportunity to talk with a mental health professional who specializes in child sexual abuse. Therapy has been shown to successfully reduce distress in families and the effects of sexual abuse on children. Many communities have local Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) that offer coordinated support and services to victims of child abuse, including sexual abuse. For a state-by-state listing of accredited CACs, visit the website of the National Children’s Alliance

5. Reassure your child that he or she is loved, accepted and an important family member. Don’t make promises you can’t keep (such as saying you won’t tell anyone about the abuse), but let your child know that you will do everything in your power to protect him or her from harm.

6. Keep your child informed about what will happen next, particularly with regard to legal actions. (For more information on helping abused children cope with the stress of dealing with the legal system, see the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s factsheet, Child Sexual Abuse: Coping with the Emotional Stress of the Legal System, available on the web. 

It is not the child’s fault that he or she has been abused It is the fault of the abuser and parents must emphasize that what occurred is not the child’s fault.

What can Parents do to Prevent Their Child from being a Victim

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should take the following steps. Sex Abuse Prevention

· Talk to your child about sexual abuse. If your child’s school sponsors a sexual abuse program, discuss what he learned.

· Teach your child which body parts are private (parts covered by a bathing suit) and the proper names of those parts. Let him know that his body belongs to him. Tell him to yell “no” or “stop” to anyone who may threaten him sexually.

· Listen when your child tries to tell you something, especially when it seems hard for him to talk about it. Make sure your child knows it’s OK to tell you about any attempt to molest him or touch him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable, no matter who the abuser may be. Let him know he can trust you and that you will not be angry with him if he tells you.

· Give your child enough time and attention. Weekly family meetings can be used to talk about all good and bad experiences.

· Know the adults and children with whom your child is spending time. Be careful about allowing your child to spend time alone or in out-of-the-way places with other adults or older children. Make visits to your child’s caregiver without notice. Ask your child about his visits to the caregiver or with child sitters.

· Never let your child enter a stranger’s home without a parent or trusted adult. Door-to-door fund-raising is particularly risky for unsupervised children.

· Check to see if your child’s school has an abuse prevention program for the teachers and children. If it doesn’t, start one.

· Tell someone in authority if you suspect that your child or someone else’s child is being abused.

The world can sometimes harbor dangers, but parents must be ever vigilant and always aware of their child’s world to prevent predators from robbing their child of their childhood. Hopefully, the vigilance of the parents and the community will prevent more children from an experience that will take away their childhood and sometimes can take their life.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Penn State abuse claims: Sometimes silence is not golden

8 Nov

Most caring and involved parents want to nurture the talents and potential of their children. It is not unusual for parents to spend money to provide academic tutoring or if the child is musical, to hire a voice or instrument coach. Many parents often hire private athletic coaches to develop their children’s talent and are quite flattered when their child is invited to a college setting. For parents of disadvantaged children, sports is often seen as a ticket out of poverty. Many think this the way for a college scholarship.

Pete Thamel is reporting in the New York Times article, State Officials Blast Penn State in Sandusky Case that there were several opportunities over the years to uncover the alleged abuse at Penn State.

The Pennsylvania attorney general and the state police commissioner excoriated Penn State officials on Monday for failing over several years to alert the authorities to possible sexual abuse of young boys by a prominent football assistant.

They said the university employees who declined to report the incidents to the police put countless more children at risk of being abused by Jerry Sandusky, the longtime assistant who has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year span, including during his tenure as an assistant at Penn State.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/sports/ncaafootball/penn-states-paterno-is-not-a-target-in-sexual-abuse-inquiry.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Among the opportunities to uncover the alleged abuse reported by Thamel were:

Even after Sandusky “made admissions about inappropriate contact in the shower room” in 1998 to the Penn State campus police, “Nothing happened,” Noonan said. “Nothing stopped.”

He said that janitors witnessed a sexual act in the football facility’s showers two years later, and still “nothing changed, nothing stopped,” because the janitors feared for their jobs and did not report the incident. Then, in 2002, according to prosecutors, another sex act involving Sandusky and a young boy was witnessed by a Penn State graduate assistant coach, who reported it to Coach Joe Paterno — yet the police still were not contacted.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/sports/ncaafootball/penn-states-paterno-is-not-a-target-in-sexual-abuse-inquiry.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

What makes this alleged crime so particularly heinous, if true, is that the children often came from disadvantaged backgrounds. This was a conspiracy of silence.

The American Humane Association has some great resources about abuse. In their article, Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect, reasons why some do not report abuse are given:

Why Don’t Some People Report Child Abuse and Neglect?

Among the most frequently identified reasons for not reporting are lack of knowledge about child abuse and neglect and lack of familiarity with state reporting laws. Other reasons people don’t report include:

In the case of powerful institutions like the Catholic Church and Penn State University, a culture of silence and fear develops which makes it impossible to stop current abuse and prevent future abuse. The abusers are often powerful or protected by the powerful for a variety of reasons. The abuse must be uncovered and dealt with. Silence only helps the abusers.

There are certain signs that your child is being groomed by a sex predator and you should be alert for those signs. Dr. Phil has an excellent article Is Your Child Being Groomed by a Predator?  Among the signs are:

·         You’re vulnerable if you are a single parent and lack time to spend with your child.

·         You’re vulnerable if you are desperate for help from outsiders.

·         If your child is from a broken or unstable home, pedophiles recognize this, and use it as a way to get inside.

·         If there is someone in your life who has a really unusual, too-good-to-be-true interest in your child, it probably is too good to be true.

·         If someone lavishes gifts on your child, and the person has unusual knowledge of kids’ popular interests — what shows they like, what music they like — pedophiles brief themselves on those things.

·         Your child receives mail, gifts or packages from someone you don’t know.

·         If this person shows up without a child at child-intensive events and locations, that’s a problem.

·         If you’re dealing with a person who always offers and angles for alone time with your child, you need to be very concerned.

·         Is your child spending large amounts of time online, especially at night?

·         Does your child use an online account that belongs to someone else?

·         Have you found pornography on your child’s computer?

·         Your child receives phone calls from men you don’t know or is making calls to numbers you don’t recognize.

·         Take notice if your child turns off the computer monitor quickly or changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.

·         Is your child withdrawing from family?  

Parents must be vigilant and monitor those who come into contact with their children. If your gut tells you that something is not quite right, follow your instincts and investigate.

In some instances, silence is definitely not golden.

Articles you might find useful are: 

  1. Victim Grooming: Protecting Your Child from Sex Predators
  2. The Grooming Process of a Child Sex Predator
  3. How Pedophiles Groom Victims 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©