Report child abuse when you see it

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

Child abuse is something everyone can help deter, or report when the warning signs are noted.

While disciplining a child typically involves punishing them to the confinement of their room or taking away a privilege, there are homes where physical abuse is a real threat, and can lead to injuries that require medical treatment.

From time to time we report on instances where children were found wandering down the street alone.

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These aren’t teenagers going on a bicycle ride to a friend’s house, these are toddlers wearing nothing but a diaper and it can be a form of neglect. Instances of such abuse are, and should be, reported to local law enforcement.

But there are instances of abuse that may go unnoticed, either because we can’t see it going on inside a home, or we don’t know the signs.

According to the Mayo Clinic, abused children may avoid interactions with friends or stop participating in typical activities. The child may also become aggressive or hostile and slack on schoolwork. Other signs include frequent

school absences, lack of confidence or running away from home. During a recent presentation by a Picayune Police Department detective, it was mentioned that abused children are far less likely to seek a higher education, seek employment by the age of 24 and are much more likely to become homeless by the age of 18.

Sexual abuse is another thing we want to protect children from. Keep an eye out for signs of this abuse as well. Those signs can include changes in eating habits, unexplained gifts or money, the child portraying acts of a sexual nature with toys or acting unusually around a family member or friend of the family.

It’s better to investigate these and other warning signs than to dismiss them as typical childhood behavior.