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#59727 - 01/11/06 08:07 PM reporting abuse
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Brothers and friends,

In another thread here in this forum Susskins got me thinking with this tidbit:

Quote:
In fact, most teachers (who are mandated reporters) won't report!
I have heard this kind of thing before. In fact, in the general clutter of my mind I have tacked up on the wall the figure of 17% as an estimate of the rate at which cases of abuse are actually reported. I don't remember where I saw that and I don't wish to defend the figure (on what basis would anyone know such a figure, for example?), but clearly there is a lot of under-reporting.

I know from young survivers who have been here on MS that in the majority of THEIR cases, at least, even when the abuse was seen by a doctor, and even if surgical intervention was required, the sexual abuse was never reported. So this seems to be a big problem.

On the other hand, when I saw a T in the USA to disclose to my parents, before I even got into her office I had to sign a form releasing her from any obligation of confidentiality if our discussions brought to light abuse of any child who is still under 18. Her view is that as abusers so often molest many victims over long periods of time, any opportunity to intervene and cut off this pattern has to be seized.

My question here is what do you people think explains under-reporting, and do you have any personal insights or experiences with this? I don't mean to be asking whether abuse should be reported. Obviously it should, at least as a matter of principle. But the problem is that this isn't what happens in practice. Why not?

Or am I wrong in thinking this is a problem? It just looks to me that there is a law on the books everywhere that mandates reporting by all sorts of professional people who surely must realize how important this is, but for various reasons society doesn't follow through.

My own take on this? My guess - and that's all it is - is that when mandated reporters fail to report, their decision is based on a feeling of concern for the impact of the disclosure on the particular abused child in question. They are not considering the problem of child abuse in general and are neglecting the fact that by failing to report they are condemning many more children to the same fate.

Perhaps this is just naive, and I can imagine that others have different views.

If it's okay with SAR I thought it would be good to put this up in F and F so partners and friends could also contribute.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#59728 - 01/11/06 08:20 PM Re: reporting abuse
michael Joseph Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
as a Teacher myself i would aways report, as a survivor I would anyway.

this is not good I would hope all teacher would want to help their students and support them.

Sounds like they need to be enlightened!

_________________________
Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
The Round Table, Men's CSA Group, Monday 7:30pm CST, MaleSurvivor Chat

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#59729 - 01/12/06 06:35 AM Re: reporting abuse
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Hello All,

I will give you my two-cents worth on this question. I feel there is one main reason (not just with regard to teachers, but all mandated reporters) and several underlying reasons that contribute to under reporting of sex abuse. The main reason is FEAR. Fear of being wrong, fear of being pointed out as a "nark", fear of their own embarrassment and fear of further hurting the child (although we all know this is silly, but they most likely don't understand the importance to a human being's psyche of reporting). So, fear is the main reason.

My sister is a first grade teacher who took the place of a teacher convicted of molesting some of his students. In her first year at this school (she's been there 6 or 7 years now), there was a girl in her classroom who was unruly and came from what most would stereotype as a blue collar home. No disrespect intended here!

My sister was having run-ins with the girl and finally, one day, the girl went to the office and told the principal that my sister had been hurting her. She even showed bruises!

Eventually, it came out that the girl was having issues at home with he parents and was pinching herself to create the bruises to gain her parents' attention.

Because of that, I asked my sister if she would now hesitate to report abuse and she said that she would because she would fear her job. It doesn't mean she wouldn't report, but she would, in fact, hesitate.

I can remember when I was managing my hometown swimming pool the Summer after my Freshman year in college. There was a boy who came from a very dysfunctional family. He was a boy that, for the most part, rather annoyed the lifeguard staff, but he was a little pumpkin at heart. He would be at the pool from morn til' night. One day, a stranger came to the pool. He was in his late twenties. This was a small town (2500 people), so everybody knew everybody and knew their business.

This man stayed for several hours at the pool, befriending this little boy (I think he was 7 or 8 at the time). Finally, just before we were closing for the dinner hour (see, small town!) the boy and the man walked out together. I stopped them and asked the boy if he knew the man and he said he had met him that day and that the man was going to give him a ride home. The boy ALWAYS rode his bike to the pool.

I cautioned him not to go. He said it would be okay and left anyway. I took down the license plate and the make/model of the vehicle and called the police. They stopped him immediately and took the boy home.

As it turned out, the man was the nephew of a well-respected Montessori school owner in town. She was outraged at my actions. So much so that she wrote a Letter to the Editor of our hometown newspaper naming me and shaming me for what I had done.

Thank God I had a backbone. Thank God I knew what I had done was the right thing to do. The following week, I had supporters reply to her letter asking what she would have done and that, in the event he had abused the child, how terrible things would be in our community and for him and for me if I hadn't reported.

I am convinced to this day, 23 years later, that I did the right thing and this man's intent was to abuse this child. It doesn't matter to what extent. I got a bad vibe from him immediately, he stayed at a place intended for children for HOURS, and he offered a strange kid a ride home who already HAD a ride home!

I can remember feeling a bit of shame when her letter was printed in the newspaper, but only a bit and only for a moment. My staff supported me and my family and friends supported my decision as well. That wouldn't have mattered because I knew what I did was right.

So, my point is this: People are shamed when reporting such a taboo subject. It's "icky". It's frightening. It's horrible. It's unmentionable.

It would take too much time out of one's life to report too. The interviews by law enforcement, the potential publicity, the sleepless nights, the time off from work to do all you have to do - all of "this" does not supply the incentive to report.

I think you are all getting the picture. It's a pain! Yep, it sure is. I can remember when my son disclosed at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 16, 2005. My thoughts were like a revolving door. I first worried about him and what had been done to him. I worried for a split second that he might not be telling the truth. I worried about how it was going to effect my depression. I worried about my job because I knew I would miss work. And all of these thoughts from someone who knows what to do. I hope that doesn't sound conceited. I've always been that way. I know what is right by people, especially underdogs (i.e. victims).

Man, I get long-winded, but I am a writer by profession! Sorry!

I hope this all makes sense to you. I can provide reasons why a mandated reporter (and even those NOT mandated) wouldn't report. It most certainly doesn't mean I would ever defend that and it doesn't ever mean it's okay not to report. We need to make it a safe thing to report and I don't think that's always the case.

Well, there is my two-cents!

Seek joy y'all.

S


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#59730 - 01/12/06 01:57 PM Re: reporting abuse
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Larry,

I remember a few years back we moved to a new town and, for a short time, attended a local church there. There was a man there who was always over friendly with the children. Touching them, Picking up the small ones and carrying them around without asking permission from the parents, etc.

This was while I was still repressing the memories of my own childhood trauma, but to us this guy just gave us the creeps. We had no proof he was a pervert, but we mentioned our concern to others in the church and got the brush off.

"Oh, that's just Don. He's really good with kids and is concerned for them." Was the typical reply. What's a person to do? We determined in our hearts to be careful of our own daughter who was small at the time and make sure the guy never had the opportunity to be alone with her.

Years later it came out in the local news media that the guy had been arrested for taking liberties with a couple of local school girls during a school outing. He has since been convicted to the state penetentiary on sex abuse charges.

The sad part is that even after all that, and one of the girls in that very church testifying against him, most of the attendees there who knew him steadfastly maintain his innocence.

I guess my point with this long preamble is that People just don't want to think the "worst case scenario", and so kids are place at risk. Abuse is ignored for fear of being wrong, or because people are just plain ignorant on CSA issues and haven't the first clue what to look for.

That does not excuse the folk on the front line, such as teachers and helthcare professionals, for taking no action. But again, many times they have no direct evidence and don't want to be wrong thereby unnecessarily separating a child from their parents.

I remember when our daughter was small there were several occasions when she was injured enough to require a trip to the emergency room for stitches or x-ray for possible broken bones. She was a very active little girl and lived life to it's fullest! Every time we as her parents were grilled, sometimes separately regarding what had happened. We almost felt like we were criminals while we were being put through the questioning, and we resented it. At the same time, it was reassuring to know that there were people who were watching out for children. I just wonder what would have happened should one of the medical professionals decided we were somehow being untruthful or that our little girl was being abused...

It's not as easy as we as survivors would try to make it, I'm afraid, but still...

Guess I've rambled just about enough. Great thread.

Lots of love,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#59731 - 01/12/06 10:58 PM Re: reporting abuse
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Larry,

without trawling through the thread, there are many issues facing reporting to authorities.

First of all, the feelings of the child should never be dismissed, it is paramount that they adhere to that.

Whilst saving the child from further abuse should be first thing to do, it can be quite impossible sometimes to validate abuse.

It is a massive subject, and we can only broach part of it in this thread, and you talk about actual physical injury which must be addressed with at source.

You did not report it, I did not, even though I thought that I did, and guess what, I was at the police station, but my child mind suggested it would be better to just get home.

The police should have alerted professionals to help me, or even ask me back when I was less agitated, but they did not.

Kids see police and professionals as aggressors, and you know that from previous things you have read.

My child mind thought at the time, that he would kill me if I took him to court, and then it said to me, what if they believe him and not me?

You were talking earlier about the burden on one young boy, and yes, that was what I really dreaded.

Grownups always win, they are cleverer than little boys.

On familial incest, it is even harder because the kid does not want the family unit broken up, and would hold the guilt for that also.

Even if kids are being abused by their own parents, they can only think, it is the only "safety" they know.

Kids are not built to take all of these extra emotions forced on them by abuse, and it is immensely difficult for them to think of any way out, never mind the best way.

The bottom line is, that so many kids take the 'easy' way out, which I guess we all tried.

You are a lecturer of very difficult learning curves, but I bet nobody on Earth could fathom child abuse out and have the answers.

The only hope I can see, is if society could somehow get back to the stable marriage principal, were parents dont have to work long hours and stay happily married, and have quality time with their kids.

Sadly, this has eroded over decades.

I worked on social policy, and we lobbied the Government on issues, did they listen? No.

The only guys who can teach anybody involved with kids are the adult survivors of such tragedy.

Authority can only learn through mistakes, sometimes it is a high price to pay, but if authority is blind or blinkered by lack of skills in what they are doing, then, why bother!

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#59732 - 01/14/06 07:04 AM Re: reporting abuse
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
caeses like mine are a big part of the reason kids don't report it themselves ,first everyone around you knows that youv'e been molested ,your friends don't hang anymore ,people talk and point at you ,this is all before you get torn to pieces in a courtroom full of the same kind of people who hurt you ,adults ,you have to look in peoples eyes and tell them what happened ,all of it ,every detail ,if you cry they stop and wait till your done then right back at you again . not what i would recomend for an 11 year old ,just ask the kid in the michael jackson case ,they either get off or plea bargain it all away ,that case showed every kid being abused now what happens when you tell .how many kids will stay in abuse because of that? they wouldn't let me see a newspaper during the trial i'm glad they didn't adam

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

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#59733 - 01/14/06 05:02 PM Re: reporting abuse
Andrew Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/25/03
Posts: 1192
susskinsdrew,
You totally, absolutely totally did the right thing. Peace, Andrew

_________________________
there is no courage without anxiety

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#59735 - 01/14/06 08:23 PM Re: reporting abuse
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
Quote:
Or am I wrong in thinking this is a problem? It just looks to me that there is a law on the books everywhere that mandates reporting by all sorts of professional people who surely must realize how important this is, but for various reasons society doesn't follow through.

My own take on this? My guess - and that's all it is - is that when mandated reporters fail to report, their decision is based on a feeling of concern for the impact of the disclosure on the particular abused child in question. They are not considering the problem of child abuse in general and are neglecting the fact that by failing to report they are condemning many more children to the same fate.
You may have heard of the Mepham High School case, from August, 2003. You can Google it if you like, or you can read a good, early account of it, and the aftermath right here .

The short version is this: Three young boys (14, & 15 yo's) from a Long Island, New York high school football team, were repeatedly sexually assaulted by 4 senior members of the football team over several nights, during a week-long football camp in PA. Many, maybe all, of the other players witnessed the attacks. Some cheered. Not one said a word until they were compelled by the full weight of the law, but that comes much later.

After the camp, they all returned home, and it wasn't until one of the victims required hospitalization and surgery that any adults found out what had happened.

Now here's where every adult involved fails these kids, BIG TIME.

A 14 year old boy is in the hospital getting surgical repairs to his anus and rectum, and the hospital doesn't report. I don't know why. This has never been answered, or even asked as far as I saw, in the press. I suspect it is for the same reason you will read further on.


His parents know exactly what has happened now, and they called the High School principal, NOT the police.

The principal then made four phone calls, in this order: the School district's lawyer, his own lawyer, the Superintendant of the School district, and then the Coach of the football team, who had been at the football camp.

None of them callled the police. The first call from the parents to the Principal was on a Sunday, and it wasn't until Tuesday that the parents got tired of waiting for the Principal to get back to them, and they finally called the police.

About a week after the news broke, and the timeline of phone calls was revealed, I sat here wondering why the Principal or Superintendant, or the Coach, or (either of the lawyers) hadn't called the police immediately.

I searched for and found the New York State Mandated Reporter's Law, and the actual guidebook that is distributed to mandated reporters.

I was stunned and disgusted to learn that there is a major HOLE in this law.

It turns out, that in NY, mandated reporters must report all witnessed or suspected abuse, of any type, if the suspected perpetrator is the parent, legal guardian, or primary caregiver of the alleged victim.

So, as their LAWYERS pointed out, the teachers/coaches, principal, administrators, and school board members were not LEGALLY REQUIRED to report these sexual assaults and other tortures because the perpetrators were other students. Besides, the alledged events occurred in another state, and there were "jurisdictional matters to consider".

And that's the value of Mandated Reporting in NY state. Could other states be any better? I doubt it.

So it's a simple answer, in this case anyway. The Mandated Reporters didn't report because they didn't HAVE TO.

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

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#59736 - 01/14/06 09:29 PM Re: reporting abuse
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Don,

whats new, nobody ever wants to talk or think about such a taboo subject.

That law should encompass anybody who works with children or services involving them.

The case of kids being hospitalised or needing treatment, is the same as young people have told me in this place, where they have been examined the MD knows abuse has happened but never goes beyond that.

I think that hospitals should have a highly trained unit to investigate anything that looks suspicious.

The idea of sending kids home for more abuse must send some signal to the poor child, it is like saying, OK we know this has been caused by someone, but just go home and hope it does not happen again,

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#59737 - 01/15/06 08:12 PM Re: reporting abuse
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Ste,

Quote:
The case of kids being hospitalised or needing treatment, is the same as young people have told me in this place, where they have been examined the MD knows abuse has happened but never goes beyond that.
You are dead right of course. We had at least three teens here last year who needed surgical attention after abuse. In one case the nature of the injury was finally (after much trouble) acknowledged and the perp was arrested, but in the other two cases nothing was done. In one of those the boy ran away and was abused by a seeming benefactor and then was too ashamed to admit what had happened. The whole thing quietly "disappeared". I don't recall the details of the third case.

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#59738 - 01/17/06 11:51 PM Re: reporting abuse
susskinsdrew Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 23
Loc: Twin Cities, Minnesota
To all of you,

All of these incidents make me ill. Literally. What is wrong with people? What is wrong with those who won't help a child?

Susskins


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#59739 - 01/20/06 08:09 PM Re: reporting abuse
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Susskins,

Here is part of your answer: no leadership! Here in the UK this week there has been a mushrooming scandal in the Ministry of Education, which, since 1997, has allowed at least 50 convicted sex offenders to take jobs teaching in the UK's schools. The real figure is believed by some to be over 200.

Ruth Kelly, the minister in question, was until today defending this, saying that she herself has approved applications in cases where the offender presents "no threat to children". Today, however, as the storm of protest swells, the tune is of course changing.

There is a register of individuals who are disallowed from teaching in schools, and it emerges that many sex offenders who are convicted and then placed in the national register of sex offenders, are NOT also placed in the register of those barred from working in schools. One county estimates that only HALF of convicted offenders are placed in both registers, and this is with the knowledge of the government.

As these offenders are, for Mrs Kelly, so harmless in society, here is an idea. Let's move them all to the school down the road from where SHE lives!

More in today's TES: http://www.tes.co.uk/2180544

Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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