Posts Tagged ‘elder abuse’

Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Every year, between 133 million and 275 million children witness domestic violence in their home. What should this number be? Zilch.

In the United States, EACH DAY four children die as a result of child abuse or child neglect. How many children should die because of this? Zilch.

In the United States, four women per day are killed by someone who is supposed to love them and honor them. How many of these women should be killed? Zilch.

In the United States, 78% of the child fatalities due to child abuse and/or neglect are are a direct result of the parents. What should this number be? Zilch.

The statistics go on and on and on.

What can YOU do? Listen and watch for opportunities to make a difference in your community. Is there an election involving domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, or any other kind of abuse in your area? If so, speak up. Vote. Make a difference. Local communities need to do what they can do to make a difference. They can set up shelters, community centers, and inform the public. You can help make that happen. If you know someone who is being abused, you can help support them through it. You can make a difference in their life. You can help inform them. You can help make an escape plan. You can.

Until the statistics reach “zilch” we have to keep on working toward that number, doing anything we can to help the problem; to help the victims; to make survivors out of victims.

For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.

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Although I live in the United States and a lot of what I have posted has to do with the United States, abuse is by no means exclusive to the United States. Abuse is a worldwide problem.

According to the International Center for Assault Prevention (ICAP) approximately forty million children under the age of fifteen are victims of abuse or neglect. Internationally, up to 36% of girls and 29% of boys have suffered child sexual abuse. Between 133 and 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence annually.

According to Living Without Abuse (UK) domestic violence leads to an average of two women being murdered EACH WEEK and thirty men per year. The BBC reports that in the UK, one in ten children is neglected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, in developed countries, one in ten elder is abused each month. However, only one in twenty-four cases is reported so the estimates are considerably on the low side. In under-developed countries, the problem is far worse.

Pick any country and search for abuse statistics. You will be shocked. It is not an isolated problem. It is a worldwide pandemic.

Something needs to be done.

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All citizens have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Without a meaningful consequence for violating Oregon’s mandatory reporting law, there is little incentive for compliance. Without a real risk of meaningful punishment, laws that impose a duty to act have no deterrent effect.”— Erin K. Olson, Portland attorney and a co-founder of the Oregon Crime Victims Law Center. 

What is a mandated reporter? A mandated reporter is someone who is required by law to report suspected abuse (child abuse, domestic violence, child neglect, and elder abuse all have specific lists of those who are mandated to report such abuse). In the case of child abuse and child neglect, the list of mandated reporters encompasses many specific people in the medical, educational, legal, law enforcement fields as well as other fields. Some states also make any adult working with a children’s club or organization (Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, Campfire, Y, etc.) a mandated reporter.

Mandated reporters are required to report when they suspect abuse or when they are told by a potential victim that abuse has/is occurred/occurring. That means that if a child comes to school and tells a teacher that his/her parents are abusing them, that teacher is required to make the report to the local agency for child protective services. They don’t have to have actual first hand knowledge of the abuse. They are required to make the call and let another professional make the decision as to whether it will be investigated or not. The identity of the reporters is supposed to be kept confidential. That doesn’t always happen. Most states have laws and penalties against anyone in a “mandated reporter category” NOT making a report.

I have been a mandated reporter in my teaching capacity as well as a Scout leader. I have made those calls to Child Protective Services several times. In one case it was investigated and found to be true. In the others, it was either not investigated at all or investigated and not found to be credible. And, although my identity was supposed to be kept confidential, it wasn’t. As a result, in two cases, parents came into my classroom and confronted me and verbally abused me in the presence of my students (this was in California which, incidentally, has a law on the books making it illegal for anyone to verbally or physically attack a school teacher or administrator in the presence of students) and no one backed me up. Administrators are supposed to do that yet in both cases, they failed to do so. It left a bitter taste in my mouth but I don’t regret having made those calls. I will do anything in my power to protect a child from any kind of abuse. Any day. Every day.

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Elder abuse is responsible for a huge number of abuse victims in the United States and throughout the world. Because the elderly can often not see well, not hear well, and confused more often, they are prime candidates for abuse by those around them, including family, friends, caretakers, and medical professionals. Some elder abuse is not intentional but more a result of the family member not being aware of just how much help and how much care their elderly loved ones need so those needs go unmet. At least that is so for elder neglect.

Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or neglect. The elderly are more fragile than younger adults and are easier targets. They often don’t know what is happening to them. They may also be aware of what is happening to them but be so frightened to speak up that they don’t say anything.

One of the types of abuses that the elderly are more susceptible to is financial abuse. They often trust others to take care of paying their bills and dealing with their banks. Often this is because they don’t see well enough or don’t hear well enough to deal with banks and businesses, especially over the phone. They hand over their finances to a family member or a “trusted” friend/neighbor. Then all of the sudden, their financial situation is far worse than they thought they should be because the person who has been taking care of their finances has actually been helping themselves to the finances.

The elderly are also prime candidates to be abused by people in care taking positions who often get paid for performing jobs for and around the elderly that are never actually done. They just bill the hours and get paid, whether they do the job or not. Often, those caretakers who are supposed to dispense medications to the elderly either dispense too much medication or not enough. This adds to the medical problems of the elderly.

The suffering of elderly abuse victims is a silent suffering. We should all be on the watch for signs of elderly abuse in those around us and try to do something about it when we suspect it. You don’t have to prove your suspicions. You just need to contact the proper authorities and they will investigate.

My 2016 A to Z Challenge Posts



Child Abuse



What if I suspect abuse?

Administration On Aging

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