Harming a child is unthinkable to most people, but it’s an unfortunate fact that children fall victim to abuse every single day. Abuse can occur at the hands of a parent, guardian, teacher, coach, religious leader, among many other individuals.
While you may think identifying abuse is easy, this is not always the case. Many abuse victims make efforts to conceal what’s occurring, either out of fear of reprisal or due to threats afforded by the abuser. That’s why it’s crucial for adults to be able to recognize signs of abuse, even those that are less obvious. This is the first step to getting the child to safety and holding the abuser accountable.
Different types of abuse can elicit different effects. Also, not all kids will respond to abuse in the same way, which complicates matters even further. However, the following signs are usually indicative of an issue and warrant further investigation:
A child may be forthcoming about the abuse occurring to them or they may attempt to sidestep the issue, claiming the abuse is happening to a friend or someone else they know. It’s crucial that adults are kind and compassionate during this period, while also asking the right questions. Questions should surround the basics of who, what, when, where, and how, but not lead the child into making admissions.
Once you have enough information about the situation, you must file a report with the proper authorities. In New Mexico, abuse and neglect reports can be made to the Children, Youth & Families Department. Any person with a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing towards a child is mandated to file a report in a timely manner. Reports can be made anonymously, but reporters are encouraged to leave their contact info in case further information is required.
The above steps ensure that a child is taken out of an abusive situation as soon as possible. However, victims of abuse also have additional legal recourse when working with a skilled personal injury firm. Our team at Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C.is dedicated to representing the rights of children in all situations. We’re well-versed in the regulations surrounding child abuse and neglect and we’ll aggressively pursue those individual responsible for mistreating children.