Love, trust and care; just a few of the words we use to describe the deep connection we hold with family members. The tight-knit bond between families is undeniable and the reason family remains an essential aspect of our lives. But what happens when you notice unloving or inappropriate behavior between a family member and their child?
Deciding to report a family member for child abuse is difficult to say the least. You may contemplate numerous things like: Is it even my business since it’s not my child? How will our family change after this? Will the child be upset by me doing this? Who will look after the kids now?
These thoughts are normal to have, as this is a serious issue that will naturally have some effects on the family. You may even wonder if this problem can be handled “within” the family. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- By Texas law, any person recognizing signs of child abuse are obligated to report the abuse
- If you think there may be abuse but don’t know for sure, still make the report. Better safe than sorry
- In Denton County, 99% of victims know their perpetrator
- Child abuse becomes generational
- Failure to report serves the child greater harm not only now but in the long-run as well
- The impact on a child can decrease if the report is made immediately and is handled in a supportive and protective manner
Abuse is secretive. By trying to solve the problem within the family or keeping outside help from intervening, you end up feeding the secret and downplaying the situation is worse than the abuse itself.
If you know a child in your family is in danger, it’s time to take action. This is where Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County (CACDC) comes in ready to assist with our team of professionals that specialize in various support services.
- Contact the Texas Abuse/Neglect at 1-800-252-5400 or the local law enforcement
- Once the abuse is reported to either child protective or law enforcement, the case will be referred to the CACDC where the child will be brought in for forensic interview and medical exam if needed
- Therapy is available to victims and non-offending family members, completely free of charge
- A Family Advocate will follow up regularly to make sure your family has basic resources
- CPS will ensure the safety of the child and law enforcement will investigate possible criminal charges
Reporting a family member is challenging. Fortunately you will have CACDC’s full support.