Reporting child abuse and neglect is everyone’s responsibility

Recognizing April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, Lassen County and the Lassen Child Abuse Prevention Council remind the public of its responsibility to report child abuse and neglect, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Kids are counting

on all adults to protect them

This means you. This resource is for any adult who interacts with a child. It outlines signs of abuse and neglect and where to report.

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In times of crisis and economic instability, child abuse and neglect rates increase. However, reports of child abuse and neglect in Lassen County have declined dramatically.

Children are not going to school, activities, places of worship and other public places where adults look out for their safety and wellbeing.

 

Trust your gut

If something does not look safe, sound safe or feel safe – report it.

 

Making a report

is asking for help and services

When you report, you are asking for a professional to help a child and their family. You do not need proof. You are not making an accusation.

 

You may be the only person to act

If you reasonably suspect a child is unsafe — report. Anonymous reports are accepted from anyone. Your identity is held confidential and will not be revealed.

 

Here are some signs a child is not safe.

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Physical abuse

  • Child appears frightened of the caregiver.
  • Child has burns, bites, broken bones, bruising, black eyes or complaints of pain.
  • Caregiver offers no explanation of a child’s injury, the parent “blames” the child’s behavior or personality for the injury. Ask yourself “Does the story match the injury?”

 

Sexual abuse

  • Child attaches very quickly to strangers or new adults in their environment.
  • Demonstrates unusual sexual knowledge or behavior for their age.
  • Difficulty walking or sitting.
  • Witnessing an adult inappropriately touching a child, watching pornography with a child or saying sexual things to a child.

 

Emotional abuse

  • Child shows extremes in behavior: overly aggressive or compliant.
  • Appears emotionally unattached to caregiver and others.
  • Caregiver constantly blames, belittles or berates the child and refuses to help the child when needed.

 

Neglect

  • Child begs or steals food, has severe poor hygiene or states that no one at home provides care.
  • Witnessing a child using alcohol or other drugs.
  • Highly stressful family situations and/or adults in home abusing alcohol or other drugs.

 

Where to report

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Child and Family Services, 251-8277 during regular business hours and 260-8131 after hours.

If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.