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Champagne give tips to recognize child abuse

L’Observateur / April 27, 1998

HAHNVILLE – The key to curbing child abuse and neglect is early recognition and quick intervention, said St. Charles Parish Sheriff GregChampagne.

According to recent data provided by the Child Protective Services Agency, more than one million children annually are victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect.

Champagne said the crime is not restricted to age, geographic region or income level. It also presents challenges to law enforcement agenciesbecause of reporting problems.

“Victims are often times too young to realize that what is happening to them is inappropriate,” Champagne said. “In these types of situations, it’sup to an adult to notify authorities. Unfortunately, far too many cases gounreported because abuse of any type is a sensitive subject for outsiders to confront – especially if the abuser is a family member.”The most common form of child maltreatment is neglect, accounting for more than half of all reported cases. There are two types of clues given bya neglected child. The child’s appearance and the presence of bodily injuryare the most visible signs. Also there may be unusual behavioral patterns.Champagne offered the following warning signs: * Neglecters often have a constant craving for change and excitement which may result in leaving for days at a time.

* Neglecters tend to express dissatisfaction with their lives while expressing a need to be free from the demands of a child.

* A lack of interest in the child’s activities.

* Little or no parenting skills as well as planning or organizational ability.

* Parent shows little or no interest in the child’s appearance.

* Parent will seldom discuss the child in a positive manner.

* Expectations for the child are beyond the child’s years of ability.

* The parent will fail to keep appointments for the child and will not return phone calls concerning the child.

* Parent will seem preoccupied with what is going on in their own lives while expressing little or no interest in the child.

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