Abused children are in additional danger during summer breaks from school and it's up to friends, neighbors, and relatives to keep their eyes and ears open to rescue kids from danger.
When school's in session, teachers, and other professionals, see children regularly. They can spot a problem, hopefully, early on.
But during the summer these professionals lose contact with the child who may keep quiet and continue to be abused out of fear that his or her plight might be discovered and face retribution from their abuser.
Reports of abuse usually fall during the summer, but experts with Prevent Child Abuse America, a national advocacy group based in Chicago, emphasize the abuse doesn't stop.
That means the burden falls to everyone in our community. If you suspect something is happening, report it, experts emphasize.
Child abuse suspicions can be reported 24 hours a day to the child abuse hotline, (800) 25-ABUSE. Trained staff members answer all hotline calls and assess the level of abuse or neglect
Locally, the number for Washington County Children Services is 373-3485.
Here are some signs of child abuse, from Prevent Child Abuse America:
- Unexplained burns, bites, bruises, broken bones or black eyes.
- Seems frightened of parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home.
- Shrinks at the approach of adults.
- Has poor relationship with other children.
- Verbally abuses other children.
- Exhibits irrational fears.
- Is hyper vigilant.
- Daydreams excessively.
- Has eating problems.
- Exhibits extremely low self-esteem.
- Constantly over-active.
Each of us may hold the key, especially this summer.