Child Abuse - FY14


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Child Abuse - WCSD

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Child Abuse - FY14

  1. 1. Reporting Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Children
  2. 2. What is child abuse? As an employee or volunteer of Walton County School District—and as a responsible citizen—you need to know that child abuse cannot be tolerated in any form. Categories of child abuse that would require being reported include: • Physical abuse • Neglect • Sexual abuse • Commercial sexual exploitation • Emotional abuse • Domestic violence • Drug use or sales in the home
  3. 3. PHYSICAL ABUSE The non-accidental physical injury of a child. Physical abuse is the most visible and widely recognized form of child abuse. In Georgia, Corporal Punishment is legal. Abuse is not. Corporal punishment is any physical punishment of a child to inflict pain as a deterrent to wrongdoing. It may produce transitory pain and potential bruising. If pain and bruising are not excessive or unduly severe and result only in short-term discomfort, this is not considered maltreatment. -Georgia DFCS
  4. 4. NEGLECT The failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect may be: • The failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs, including safety from harm or danger (failure to protect). • Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision this also includes the failure to protect a child from harm/danger.) • Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment) • Educational (e.g. failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs) • Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)
  5. 5. NEGLECT Child Protective Services guidelines for supervision: Children eight years or younger should not be left alone; Children between the ages of nine years and twelve years, based on level of maturity, may be left alone for brief (less than two hours) periods of time; and, Children thirteen years and older, who are at an adequate level of maturity, may be left alone and may perform the role of babysitter, as authorized by the parent, for up to twelve hours. These guidelines assume that the child’s age is equivalent with his or her developmental level. A child’s maturity should ALWAYS factor into how much supervision is needed.
  6. 6. SEXUAL ABUSE The exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult or older child. Sexual abuse is most commonly perpetrated by an individual known to the victim, rarely is the offender a stranger. One-third of all sexual abuse is perpetrated by another child. Sexual abuse includes touching offenses: fondling, sodomy, rape; and non-touching offenses: child prostitution, indecent exposure and exhibitionism, utilizing the internet as a vehicle for exploitation.
  7. 7. EMOTIONAL ABUSE A pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. It frequently occurs as verbal abuse, but can also include the following: rejection, terrorizing, shameful forms of punishment, withholding physical and emotional contact; developmentally inappropriate expectations.
  8. 8. OTHER CONCERNS THAT SHOULD BE REPORTED INCLUDE: • Commercial sexual exploitation of children • Domestic violence • Drug use or sales in the home • Suicidal ideation or attempts
  9. 9. When a Child Victim Tells When a child tells you that he or she has been abused, i.e. makes a disclosure, you should always take the statement seriously, regardless of how credible the child’s statement seems. Ways a child might disclose something to you could include: 1. Indirect Hints 2. Disguised Disclosure 3. Disclosures with Strings Attached
  10. 10. What to Do When a Child Discloses 1. Find a private place to talk. 2. Listen openly and calmly. 3. Write down the facts and the words as the child has stated them. 4. Without asking leading questions, gather this information regarding the situation: What happened? Who did it? When did it happen? Where did it happen? Why did it happen? (What led up to it) and How did it happen and how often does it happen? Does the perpetrator live in the home? Remember, you are not investigating. You are gathering enough information to make an appropriate referral. Asking leading or invasive questions could jeopardize the integrity of the formal investigation. 5. Respect the child’s need for confidentiality. 6. Immediately report to the school counselor or administrator, or if neither is on campus at the time, report to your supervisor. Together you will complete a written report. Time is of the essence.
  11. 11. What Are Your Responsibilities? All child service organization personnel are mandated reporters, who “having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused shall report or cause reports of that abuse to be made.” ‘Child service organization personnel’ means persons employed by or volunteering at a business or an organization, whether public, private, for profit, not for profit, or voluntary, that provides care, treatment, education, training, superv ision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter to children. - O.C.G.A. 19-7-5(b)(5)
  12. 12. What Are Your Responsibilities? As an employee or volunteer in an educational institution, you are required by law to report child abuse. Walton County Protocol requires that you immediately report suspected child abuse to the school counselor or school administrator, or if neither is on campus at the time, report to your supervisor. Any person or official required by Georgia law to report suspected cases of child maltreatment and who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Report child abuse. It is the law! (O.C.G.A. 19-7-5)
  13. 13. What if the Suspect is a Coworker? At some time during your career you might suspect that a coworker is abusing his or her own child or the children in the classroom. This is certainly a difficult situation, but the same rule applies. You must report your suspicions to the school counselor or administrator, or if neither is on campus at the time, report to your supervisor.
  14. 14. Professional Judgment To prevent allegations of abuse being leveled at you, as an employee or volunteer of the school, you must make sure that your behavior is above reproach. Your behavior will, in most cases, be the behavior that either builds a strong relationship with the community or destroys that relationship. Using professional judgment will help build trust and a sense of community pride in your school. Ensure that your actions do nothing to destroy the trust placed in you by parents and others in the community.
  15. 15. Using Professional Judgment Use "professional judgment" when interacting with students. • Maintain a professional barrier between you and your students. You are the professional: act like the mature adult, not like one of the children. • Keep the classroom door open when talking with students individually. • Refer students to the appropriate person for counseling and discussions about personal matters. • Do not discuss your husband, wife, girlfriends, or boyfriends with students. Keep these matters to yourself. • Use verbal praises and reinforcements. • Keep hands and other parts of the body to yourself.
  16. 16. Using Professional Judgment Professional judgment, in the context of interacting with students, means conducting yourself in a proper manner. • Attend chaperone-only school-sponsored functions. • When serving as a teacher or chaperone on field trips, understand your responsibilities and the limitations on personal interactions with the students. • When transporting students, coordinate transportation ahead of time with your principal or supervisor. Never transport students in your personal vehicle. • When on field trips, use a buddy system. Avoid situations when a lone student is separated from the group. Always have two or more staff members or volunteer chaperones with each group of students. • Avoid leaving students unsupervised at any time. • Treat students with respect. • Know students’ rights. If you do not know their rights, refer to the student handbook, or contact the principal.
  17. 17. Questionable Activities Avoid teacher interactions that are considered questionable: • Avoid any activity that you fear may be misunderstood by a student or by anyone that may witness your actions. If you are not sure if the activity is questionable, it probably is. Discuss the matter with your principal or supervisor before proceeding. • If you witness or are told about a questionable activity that happens on or off campus between a fellow employee and a student, immediately discuss this with your principal or supervisor. This also includes witnessing or hearing about another employee engaging in a questionable activity. • If you witness or are told about a questionable activity that happens on or off campus between adults and students, discuss them with your principal as soon as possible after witnessing or hearing about the incident.
  18. 18. Protecting the Child When you listen to an abused child’s call for help, do the right thing and report it. You can play a crucial role in helping a child escape from an abusive situation. None of us wants to see a child suffer. Child abuse is a problem that most of us are reluctant to discuss. It is a delicate and appalling topic. To protect the children, you need to openly discuss it and report the abusive treatment as soon as possible. We are glad you have chosen a career or are volunteering in education and know that you are a dedicated educator or supporter of education because you love children and want to see them succeed. The greatest reward for an educator is a student discovering the joy of learning, and you are the catalyst in this amazing process.
  19. 19. For any further questions, please contact the Student Services Department at the central office. (770) 266-4510 Gina Meadows, Student Services Director Eric Rubio, Student Services Coordinator Pam Reaves, Student Services Coordinator
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