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April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

By April 21, 2004

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Have you ever thought that a child you know is being abused? Did you report it? Many people do not for a various reasons. Here are a few misconceptions about reporting child abuse from Childhelp USAŽ. When a child abuse tragedy is reported in the media, neighbors often say that they thought something was wrong, yet too often no reports of known or suspected abuse were made to the police or local child protective services agency.

According to Childhelp USAŽ, surveys have shown that, although the majority of Americans polled believe that everyone should play a role in stopping child abuse, many people also admit to witnessing child abuse and doing nothing about it.

The reasons for not reporting abuse include not knowing where to call and misconceptions regarding what will happen once a report of known or suspected abuse is made to the police or a child protective services agency. Many people incorrectly believe that:

  • by law, abused children must be removed from their homes immediately, which is the least likely outcome.
  • child abuse cannot be reported anonymously. In most states, you don’t need to provide your name.
  • the person reported for abuse is entitled to know who made the report. They are not.

For reporting numbers in your area, call the Childhelp USAŽ National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILDŽ (1-800-422-4453). The hotline is staffed by degreed professionals 24 hours a day who accept calls from the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Calls are anonymous and toll-free. State-of-the-art technology provides translators in 140 languages.

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