Child Abuse Awareness TipsWeek 1
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office has produced a video to help citizens with the recognition and reporting of child abuse. Please allow about 20 minutes to watch this video. We hope that you find it helpful and informative. Click on the link below to be connected to the start of the video.
Children who are abused rely on school personnel to report abuse because they trust you. Listen to what the child says. Your role is not to interview or investigate. Listening reinforces the bond of trust.
As a school district employee you are required by law to report any suspected child abuse. Any person that has knowledge of the abuse is required to report it. The report must be made within 48 hours of the initial outcry.
If a child trusts you enough to make an outcry, LISTEN to the entire story before interrupting the child. You may be the only person who hears the story.
When a child opens up to you listen to the complete story. You must never prompt a response or put words in a child’s mouth. Also, reinforce to the child that they did the right thing by telling you.
Students that beg and steal food or money may be victims of physical neglect.
If a child trusts you enough to confide in you, don’t let the child down. MAKE THE REPORT.
It is against the law not to report suspected child abuse. You can’t tell someone about the abuse and trust them to make the report for you. When you make the report your identity will be kept confidential.
Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code defines child abuse as an act or omission that endangers a child’s physical, mental or emotional health and development.
Your report can save a life and make a difference in a child’s life.
CPS reported in 2007 that Ector County had a child population of 37,411 children and received 1,926 reports of suspected abuse. Out of the 1,926 reports there were 839 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect.
There are 7 different categories of child abuse.
They are: emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, physical neglect, medical neglect, neglectful supervision, and refusal to accept parental responsibility.
Physical abuse is an injury that results in substantial harm to the child.
Emotional abuse is an injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development and psychological functioning.
Sexual abuse is sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional or physical welfare.
Neglect is leaving a child exposed to a substantial risk of harm without arranging for necessary care.
Students that have unexplained and chronic bruises or welts in different stages of healing could be victims of physical abuse. The bruises appear in unusual patterns or clusters which would reflect the instrument used in the abuse. (i.e. belt, extension cord, hand, etc.)
Students that have unexplained fracture/broken bones may be victims of physical abuse.
Students that exhibit unexplainable lacerations, abrasions especially around the mouth, lip, or eye may be victims of physical abuse.
Students who are wary of adult physical contact and are passive and withdrawn may be victims of physical abuse. There may be a sudden change in school behavior and performance.
Students that show extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression may be victims of emotional abuse.
When in doubt if child abuse is occurring call the report into CPS. CPS will determine the status of the report and you will know that you have done your part in protecting a child.
Students that are frequently absent from school may be victims of physical neglect.
Students that are consistently dirty and have severe body odor and poor dental hygiene may be victims of physical neglect.
Students that lack sufficient clothing for the weather conditions may be victims of physical neglect.
Students that state no one is at home to provide care may be victims of neglectful supervision.
If a child is in a life threatening situation, call 911 first and then make your report to CPS.
Students showing unusually aggressive behavior or persistent sexual play towards family members, friends, toys, and pets could be victims of sexual abuse.
Students frequently complaining of pain while using the restroom, and complain of unexplained health problems could be victims of sexual abuse.
Students having unexplained periods of panic could be experiencing flashbacks from sexual abuse.
Students that have been sexually abused tend to have advanced knowledge of sexual behaviors and may have an unusual amount of questions about human sexuality.
Students who are suddenly reluctant to be alone with a certain person and/or withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities, like school or school performance may be victims of sexual abuse.
Students engaging in self mutilations, such as sticking themselves with pens or cutting themselves, could be victims of sexual abuse.
There is no Texas law that states what age a child can be left alone. Factors that should be taken into consideration when leaving a child home alone: age, maturity, safety of the home, neighborhood circumstances, child’s ability to respond to emergencies and whether the child has a physical or mental disability.
Students that have attempted suicide may be victims of emotional abuse.
Students that report a lack of attachment to their parent may be victims of emotional abuse.
Students that lack needed medical or dental care, immunizations or glasses may be victims of medical neglect.
Students that are kicked out of their homes could be victims of refusal to accept parental responsibility.