FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) –Officials at the organization, Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN), say the Jerry Sandusky case has brought awareness to the issue, and some lessons can be learned from it.
Jennifer Boen, Communications Manager at SCAN in Fort Wayne, says a study shows only 40-percent of professionals who are mandated to report child abuse—teachers, physicians, lawyers, and social workers—actually do. She says it’s because most people are afraid.
“There is a tendency for everyone to assume that someone else is going to report child abuse or neglect. It is all of our responsibility, each one of us bears the responsibility to report abuse and neglect,” Boen said.
With victims of Sandusky speaking out everyday, Boen says the other misconception is that an abuser can be someone in a position of authority and is most often someone the child is close to.
“Most perpetrators of abuse and neglect are known to the child and known to the family, and that makes it even worse because it could a close family friend, it could be a relative,” she said.
Boen says signs a child is being abused are nightmares, sudden bedwetting, mood swings and change in personality, and being afraid of going somewhere or seeing someone. She says the best way to find out if your child is being abused is open communication. She urges parents talk with their children about private parts, and how people should and should not touch and interact with them.
“Have them talk about boundaries. Set certain parameters that even an uncle should not cross this line.”
Boen says the main lesson to learn from the Sandusky child abuse case, is to report child abuse, even if you’re not completely sure.
“Even if you just suspect and don’t have any evidence,” Boen said. “It isn’t your responsibility to know for sure, but to report it and let the officials who are trained do the investigating.”
To report child abuse and neglect, call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline, anonymously, at 1-800-800-5556.
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