Guest Author - Kelli Deister
There is currently a case of alleged child abuse that has been in the news, involving a twelve-year-old girl. Her parents allegedly starved her, putting her in danger and jeopardizing her health. It is my understanding that when the authorities found the girl, she was badly malnourished. The incident has fueled a strong debate over the pros and cons of releasing any information on the girl, as well as other children that may be abused.
The judge overseeing the case has made a decision to not allow any information out to the media. He says it is in her best interest to do so. However, there are others that apparently feel that by not allowing the information to be released, it will hinder them from being able to expose abuse and work on making the system better for future cases.
On the one hand, if the authorities, including the child protective services, were to release any information on the case, it might help them to review the case and prevent future abuse from happening to children. They may be able to use the records of this case as a guide to prevention of child abuse. Releasing the records could possibly help the authorities to make better laws. Obviously, the girl’s name would be withheld, only the information on the abuse would be exposed to the general public, in the hope of pinpointing the problem at hand. It would also expose any mistakes that the authorities might have made on the case.
However, perhaps giving the information to the authorities, as well as to the general public, would emotionally harm the little girl that was being abused. Apparently, some feel that to release the information could prevent her from living a normal and healthy life. Perhaps it would be best to refrain from releasing the information and focus on the child that was abused, helping them to heal from the abuse. This case must be weighed on the scales of justice. Releasing the information professionally could help our lawmakers while also helping the child that was allegedly abused.
Personally, I feel that the information should be released only to those authorities that can work towards creating laws that protect our youth and prevent further abuse from occurring. However, on the flip side of this, I am left to wonder if releasing the information to the public might also help in their working towards creating new and harsher laws for those that abuse children.
As a citizen and a parent, I am all for doing whatever is necessary to stop and prevent child abuse from occurring now and in the future, without jeopardizing the children involved. The safety of the children is first and foremost in this debate. All decisions made must fully protect the privacy of the children.