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ChildHelp USA lists common indicators displayed in child abuse or neglect victims in their following list:
PHYSICAL ABUSE 1. Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or welts in shape of an object 2. Bite marks 3. Anti-social behavior 4. Problems in school 5. Fear of adults
EMOTIONAL ABUSE 1. Apathy 2. Depression 3. Hostility or stress 4. Lack of concentration 5. Eating disorders
SEXUAL ABUSE 1. Inappropriate interest or knowledge of sexual acts 2. Nightmares and bed wetting 3. Drastic changes in appetite 4. Overcompliance or excessive aggression 5. Fear of a particular person or family member
NEGLECT 1. Unsuitable clothing for weather 2. Dirty or unbathed 3. Extreme hunger 4. Apparent lack of supervision
In addition, Humane Society of United States found an interesting connection between child abuse & neglect with pet owners displaying similar characteristics. According to a 1997 survey administered to 50 of largest shelters for battered women made a discovery that 85 percent of women and 63 percent of children who entered shelters admitted to pet abuse/neglect incidents in family. The Humane Society of United States advocates awareness to responders to (of family violence or neglect) of this animal abuse/neglect connection to human counterparts.4
Statistically speaking, information provided by multiple child welfare organizations may lend hindsight to an ever-growing epidemic of child abuse and neglect in these United States. Though `hindsight' may be 20/20, it cannot reclaim countless lives lost in cases like that of Bradley McGee. Was his case just a freak oversight or are there multiple cases like his that have received identical inattentiveness?
Based on findings, 4.5 million children were purportedly referred to child welfare services for possible abuse - only 896,000 cases were `substantiated.' Does this mean that over 3 million cases were all completely false? Or are there several more Sheryl Coes who hide when social services pays a visit? Rationally, one would assume after all `substantiated' cases of child abuse and neglect reports, that governmental agencies would meticulously review said statistics and actual representations of abuse/neglect cases. Furthermore, since there are multiple, annual deaths involving child abuse and neglect, it would seem beneficial for child welfare workers to have legal authority to enter a premises with or without notice, and/or permission to review infant or child environment.
Again, I reflect on a preventable death that occurred nearly 20 years ago - Bradley McGee. His life...and death did make a difference, and society cannot allow it to be in vain. If you or someone you know suspects child abuse or neglect, don't stand silent. Don't wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow may be too late. If you are a child welfare worker, remember this story well. It may just mean difference between life and death of a child.
For a listing of local state agencies, please visit: www.childhelpusa.org/report_local.htm
For further reading on Bradley McGee, see:
For Ones I Left Behind - Painting dedicated to Bradley McGee
For Ones I Left Behind - Poem dedicated to Bradley McGee
© Florida's Child - Fatal Deception or Social Blindness? by C. Bailey-Lloyd aka. LadyCamelot Public Relations' Director & Staff Writer www.holisticjunction.com www.mediapositiveradio.com
* Information regarding Bradley McGee was obtained directly from Ms.Kip Liles and her dedicatory websites (see article above)
1. US Department of Health & Human Services - www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm02/index.htm
2. National Clearing House on Child Abuse & Neglect Information www.calib.com/nccanch/pubs.
3. ChildHelp USAź - www.childhelpusa.org/abuseinfo_stats.htm#fatalities
4. Animal Cruelty and Family Violence: Making Connection - The Humane Society of United States
C. Bailey-Lloyd aka. LadyCamelot Public Relations' Director & Staff Writer www.holisticjunction.com www.mediapositiveradio.com