Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Child abuse occurs more often, in our society, than we care to admit or recognize. For the most part, people want to help the child. They want to see the child that is being abused brought to safety. Why then do some people in our society not voice their concerns or suspicions? I believe there are several reasons. I also believe it is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people do not know what to do about it and how to report their suspicions.
There are those people that are suspicious of abuse occurring; however, they might be confused as to the procedures of reporting it. They may very well want to help the child, but do not know what to do to report it. There are also those people that suspect something is happening to the child, but refrain from reporting it simply because they donít know for sure that the child is being abused. They may be afraid of reporting suspected abuse because they donít want to see the child removed if nothing is occurring in the home. Many people genuinely want to help, they just donít know what they can do to make a difference in the life of an abused child.
In other articles, I have mentioned that it is better to be safe than sorry. In other words, it is better to report a suspicion of abuse than to let it go unreported and find out later that the child was indeed being abused. What can people do to make a difference in the life of an abused child? What can the general public do to help the child that is being abused? It can be as simple as helping the parent with everyday stressors, such as chores and errands, or as difficult as making the initial report of suspected abuse.
People that live next to a child which they suspect is being abused can offer their help to the parents. Perhaps it is a single mom or dad that needs help with errands or basic household chores. Perhaps the parents need help with taking their child outside to places, like a zoo, in order to get some time for themselves. Befriending them could definitely help the child.
There are also abuse shelters that work at keeping the child and non-abusive parent safe.
The shelter may need help with work on the exterior of the shelter, such as painting, cleaning gutters, raking the yard etc. They may also need help from volunteers that can come in and do arts and crafts with the children or just take an hour to sit down with the children and read them a great story. Lastly, the shelter may need help with donations that can be given to the children on their birthdays, or holidays, such as Christmas.
There are many things people can do to make a difference in the life of an abused child. All it takes is some spare time and a heart of compassion towards the child.