Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

February 2, 2014

CHIEF'S CORNER: The scourge of child abuse

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I am sure many of you have followed the recent news stories about the shocking deaths of a number of our Western New York children who were victims of child abuse. The most recent abuse victim was a 3 year-old girl beaten to death in her own home in Amherst. 

As a police officer I can tell you that there is nothing that makes your blood boil more than when someone mistreats a child. Unfortunately, despite our proactive approach, increased awareness and the stiff penalties for all forms of child abuse, it continues to occur all too frequently. It is a crime that can occur at every socioeconomic level, across all ethnic and cultural lines, and within all religions and all levels of education.

It can be difficult for child to tell anyone about the abuse because it occurs mainly in the privacy of a home and is generally perpetrated by an adult known to the child. According to various sources, a complaint of child abuse is received every 10 seconds in this country. More than four children die each day from abuse and these statistics may be low due to underreporting and because many abuse cases are not recognized as abuse. 

Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse cases are the most obvious and receive the most attention due to the visible injuries and scars, other types of abuse such as emotional abuse and neglect also leave deep, lasting psychological scars. In fact, about three-fourths of all abuse cases are classified as emotional abuse. 

Emotional injuries are not obvious and they are difficult to treat. Ignoring children’s needs, putting them in unsupervised or dangerous situations, or making a child feel worthless or stupid are also examples of child abuse. Regardless of the type of abuse, the result is serious emotional harm. 

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