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Parents: Do You Know The Sexual Abuse Warning Signs?

Croc Farm_1With the onslaught of media coverage Penn State University has received following the horrendous and and heartbreaking allegations of child abuse I  find myself wondering two things:

  • Where were the other adults on these “outings” and why didn’t anyone step in sooner?
  • How did the parents/guardians/counselors miss the warning signs that something was wrong?

Unfortunately, many of the “red flags” we often associate with child abuse are usually vague and not widely discussed in public.  Many parents and adults are unsure of what they should be aware of when we talk about the red flags.  We can read and write in the media hundreds of stories about child abuse happening but not what to do about how to 1-stop it and 2-know what to look for.

I came across an excellent article on cnn.com a few days ago that I think all parents and adults in general should read.  Because as we know, it only takes one person to cause irreversible damage to a child and it just takes more one person to stop it, recognize it, and send a message that we will not tolerate it anymore.

Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, according to the American Psychological Association. An estimated 60% of perpetrators are known to the child but not family members: family friends, babysitters, child care providers and neighbors.

Read this CNN article for Warning Signs of sexual abuse

 

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Penn State Abuse Scandal | Have Courage To Report Child Abuse: Julie Hanks LCSW on KSL News

No compromisingThe Penn State sexual abuse scandal has brought child abuse to the forefront of headlines across the nation. When I heard about this situation I was sickened for the victims – the children who were abused. While the news is focusing on Paterno and other school officials who were fired because of this scandal, and the student outrage about their beloved coach being fired, this story is about institutional secrecy and protecting your own job and reputation.

“Part of why people protect the institution is because, really, they are protecting themselves because they are a part of the institution,” said director Julie Hanks of Wasatch Family Therapy. “And if the institution is threatened, they are somehow threatened.”

I wanted to be a voice to support having the courage to act on behalf of abused children, and to report any crime, or suspected crimes, against children to police authority.  I was invited to share my thoughts on tonight’s KSL news story “LaVell Edwards describes friendship with Joe Paterno.” My comments are near the end of the story.

Read the full story at KSL.com

Read Utah mandatory child abuse reporting law

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lance Neilson

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