Child abuse is more than just bruises and broken bones…
While physical abuse is most obvious, children are often suffering from many other types of abuse.
Any sexual act between an adult and a child. This includes any physical acts like fondling, penetration, oral sex and also includes forcing children to watch sexual acts.
Any attitude or behavior which interferes with a child’s mental health or social development. This includes yelling, screaming, name-calling, shaming, negative comparisons to others, constantly telling them they are “bad” , “useless” or “a mistake.” It also includes the failure to provide affection and support necessary for the development of a child’s emotional, social, physical and intellectual well-being. This includes ignoring, lack of appropriate physical affection (hugs), withdrawal of attention, lack of praise and lack of positive reinforcement. While emotional abuse may not seem as harmful as physical or sexual abuse, it can often leave long lasting scars.
Neglect has many facets. It includes failing to provide for a child’s physical needs. This includes lack of supervision, inappropriate housing or shelter, inadequate provision of food and water, inappropriate clothing for season or weather, abandonment, denial of medical care and inadequate hygiene.
If a child discloses ANY abuse to you
It is important to know that ANY PERSON in the state of New Hampshire who reasonably suspects child abuse is mandated to report that abuse. You should call the central intake number for DCYF (1-800-894-5533) when you believe that the child is disclosing abuse. If the child would like to talk with you about what happened, here are some important things to remember.
- It is most important that you LISTEN to what the child is telling you.
- DO NOT investigate the child’s claims
- DO NOT ask leading questions
- DO NOT make any promises to child about what might happen
- DO NOT notify the person the child is accusing, even if it is a parent or caregiver
- Provide a safe environment where the child feels like they can talk
- Be a good listener
- Tell the child it was not their fault
- Be supportive
- Know your own limits
- Tell the truth
- Call DCYF as soon as possible
ALL people in NH are MANDATED REPORTERS OF CHILD ABUSE.
If you have any questions contact the CCCNH office: 225-7276 or hotline: 1-866-841-6229; Merrimack Child Advocacy Center: 228-0529; or Division of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF): 1-800-894-5533
NH RSA 631:1 States that Knowingly or Recklessly causing harm to a child under the age of 13 is considered a Class-A Felony.