TOP FIVE WAYS TO
CHILD ABUSE IN A PUBLIC PLACE
Raleigh, NC – January 10, 2001 – Its an
all-to-familiar scene. You’re
standing in line at a grocery store as the young parent in front of you
tries to calm an impatient child while at the same time monitoring the
checkout process and digging for a wallet.
Too often, the scene ends in harsh words being spoken or physical
force exerted on the child. As an observer, you’re left feeling
embarrassed for not having intervened and frustrated for not knowing
what to do.
to Prevent Child Abuse America, 30 percent of Americans report having
witnessed physical abuse of a child and 75 percent report observing
verbal abuse. Yet nearly
half of these Americans also report having done nothing to intervene,
primarily because they did not know how to respond.
more than 120,000 children reported to the child protective service
agencies as alleged victims of child abuse and neglect each year, there
is clearly a need to educate the public on how to respond to these
incidents,” says Jennifer Tolle, executive director of Prevent Child
Abuse North Carolina. “People often feel helpless when they witness
child abuse in a public place because they don’t know what to do.
Fortunately, there are several effective and safe ways people can
Child Abuse offers the following tips on how to stop child abuse in a
Start a conversation with the adult to direct attention away from
the child. For example:
“She seems to be
trying your patience.”
“My child has gotten
upset like that too.”
has beautiful (eyes).” (Get the parent to see a positive.)
wear you out, can’t they? Is there anything I can do to help?”
Divert the child’s attention (if misbehaving) by talking to the
3. Look for an opportunity to praise the parent or child.
4. If the child is in danger, offer assistance. For example, if the
child is left unattended in a grocery cart, stand by the child until the
5. Avoid negative remarks or looks. These reactions
are likely to
increase the parent’s anger and could make matters worse.
can help stop the cycle of abuse by notifying your county Department of
Social Services, Child Protective Services Division, when you suspect
that a child is being abused or neglected. Your report can be anonymous.
Child abuse rarely stops without intervention and help. It is the law
that every citizen report suspected child abuse and neglect.
more information on child abuse prevention in your community, call
Child Abuse North Carolina Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina is a
statewide network of child abuse prevention and family support agencies.
Our mission is to help strengthen families and communities to
prevent child abuse and neglect. Our prevention network accomplishes this through public
education, training, advocacy and support services for children and
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