Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

February 2, 2014

CHIEF'S CORNER: The scourge of child abuse

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Abused children are nine times more likely to engage in criminal activity, tend to suffer psychological disorders and have a greater chance of abusing their own children.

The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and end the cycle of abuse. That is why it’s important to recognize child abuse in its earliest stages and report it to police.

One of the most obvious signs of child abuse is unexplained physical injuries. Children are always falling or bumping into things. I made a number of trips to the emergency room with my own children for various bumps, bruises, and the occasional stitches incurred during sporting events or from general roughhousing. However, children exhibiting constant injuries such as bruising or broken bones that are explained away as “normal” may be suspect. 

Another telling clue is changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often are afraid to go home and appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive. Changes in eating or sleeping are also indicative of possible abuse.

The best method to prevent child abuse is to be alert to the problem and if you see something or suspect something, call someone. As police officers, we always hear the statement from people that they “don’t want to get involved”. However, in cases of child abuse it is imperative for you to get involved and follow your feelings. If you suspect something is wrong, it probably is! In cases of child abuse, you may be the only hope for a child trapped in an abusive household. In fact, the simple act of picking up the phone and calling police may save the life of a defenseless child.

If you suspect that a child is being abused, please call the Lockport Police Department at 433-7700. You may also contact the New York State Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-342-3720. Depending on the severity of the reported child abuse, hotline calls are referred to the proper police agency within a very short period of time. 

I can assure you that no matter how we receive information, any complaint of child abuse will receive our highest priority. With your help, we will continue to work diligently to uncover any type of child abuse and end this destructive practice.

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