The following story is a prime example of why we need to make enough noise to get children the help they need. Telling ourselves “someone else took care of it,” “someone else reported, “or “there was an Investigation and the case was closed so there must not have been abuse,” are not good arguments or excuses for not reporting.
The laws and lack of funding are such that children are left in the home and continued to be sexually, or otherwise abused. The reason, we are not supplying the authorities with the information they need. We do not know how the system works. We do not know the facts. This is a fact: It takes a mountain of information to help these children. Therefore, we have to speak out, even if we only know one scary or questionable act about a child. (Telling me, a friend, or someone else is not doing your job.) In one case there are five people who know or have strong suspicions about sexual abuse of a child, and have for years. Instead, these adults have chosen to either cover for the parent, protect themselves, their kids, or their careers. The child has had cases opened and closed, but the authorities do not have enough evidence, other than the child’s own words to go into court and remove the child.
In answer to your unspoken question, yes, the authorities have this information. However, tht information came from a third party and not the actual person with the knowledge. What they do not have is enough people calling in or filing online reports to take action. In this instance of the five adults, two denied their knowledge, even though they had told others. (Three of which are educators, one works in the medical field and all are mandatory reporters.) Of the three educators, one denied making statements about the child’s abuse and the other two educators modified the child’s behavior. The authorities may have strong “reason to believe” the child is being harmed. However, the authorities cannot force someone with knowledge to give them that information so they can help the child. The best they can do is give “strong recommendations” telling the parent to keep the child away from certain people. (By law, the authorities are not allowed to share that information with others, even close family members.)
Here’s the bigger point, if I know five adults withholding information in one case, how many do you know? Multiply that by a nation. No wonder we have such a huge problem. It takes a village, and our village is a bit dysfunctional. We can change that, one person at a time. These five adults could make a difference and choose not to, even when asked by the authorities. I have to wonder how many people suspected abuse of the child in the following case and chose not to report? JDP
How to Report: https://www.childwelfare.gov/responding/how.cfm