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BellaOnline's Child Abuse Editor

Child Abuse and the Media

This is a sensitive subject for many because of varying beliefs. Some believe that all abuse should be reported while others believe cases of abuse should not be reported by the media at all. There are also laws at work regarding the media. I know I have read media reports of children being abused and neglected, but no names were revealed, and rightly so. I believe in the protection of child abuse victims. When a victim of child abuse dies due to the abuse they suffered, their name and age is often listed by the media. However, when a child is being abused and the horrific details are exposed, no names are listed, in order to protect the minor child.

What should the role of the media be in regards to this issue? Should they report abuse that occurs? Or is their reporting the abuse working against the privacy of the child? Once the media has learned of a case of reported abuse, what should their stance be? I believe that the media should report cases of abuse because it will help to bring about the prevention of child abuse.

I believe that the privacy of children should be honored; however, I also believe that all abuse should be reported. How can we expect our society to take abuse seriously if no abuse is reported. Iím not talking about revealing names. Iím talking about revealing the abuse. For instance, if a child is being abused then the abuse should be reported while continuing to protect the privacy of the child. The more the media reports abuse, the more educated the public becomes. An example would be if the child protective agency confirms abuse then the media should report it. They must never reveal the name of the child; however, reporting that another case of abuse has occurred will help to educate the public.

A few years ago, here in Hawaii, there was a tragic story of abuse. The little girl was subjected to extreme abuse and ended up dying because of it. Her name was revealed as were the horrific details. Those kind of reports will help to raise awareness about child abuse. Iím not in favor of revealing the victimís name. However, I am fully supportive of revealing the abuse the child endured. It may sound odd, yet, I feel it is necessary to report details in order to educate the public.

I think the media should have an active role in reporting abuse. The more awareness is raised, the more our society can attempt to prevent child abuse.

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