Posts Tagged ‘ child abuse ’

Boy Scouts Acknowledges ‘Insufficient’ Response to Sex Abuse

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has admitted in an open letter that the organization’s response to allegations of sexual abuse by troop leaders has been “plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong.”  The letter comes as the BSA prepares for a court-ordered release of documents related to the allegations. has more:

The letter comes after the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the Boy Scouts to release “ineligible volunteer” files from 1965 to 1985 that chronicle suspected or confirmed instances of child sex abuse. Media organizations had sued for the release of the files, part of a 2010 case in which a jury decided that the Scouts were negligent for allowing a former assistant scoutmaster to associate with the organization’s youth after he admitted molesting 17 boys in 1983, court records show, according to The Associated Press.

Some 829 of the files from that time period (Jan. 1, 1965 to June 30, 1984) involve suspicions or confirmations of inappropriate sexual behavior with 1,622 youth, according to a report by Dr. Janet Warren, a professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, for the Boy Scouts. The report, released Tuesday, was completed in 2011.

“Dr. Warren’s report shows that, as part of our broader Youth Protection program, the BSA’s system of ineligible volunteer files functions to help protect Scouts,” Wayne Perry, national president, Tico Perez, national commissioner, and Wayne Brock, chief Scout executive, said Tuesday in an open letter to the Scouting community. “However, we also know that in some instances we failed to defend Scouts from those who would do them harm. There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong.

Image: Boy Scouts, via spirit of america /

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Mom Not Sorry She ‘Smooshed’ Her Son’s Bully

Friday, September 21st, 2012

A Florida mother is saying she has no regrets for accosting a child who was bullying her son, even though the incident was caught on camera and the mom is facing child abuse charges as a result.  NBC News has more:

“I mean, I really, honestly can’t say I won’t do it again,” Felecia Phillips, 35, of Bunnell, Fla., told NBC Orlando affiliate of Wednesday morning’s fight. ”I just wanted him to leave my son alone, you know? What’s the problem?”

The trouble began on Tuesday, according to Phillips, when her 15-year-old son, Terez Smith, got beat up at Flagler Palm Coast School by a friend of the teen she confronted on the bus, 17-year-old Justin Mickens.

Worried about her son’s safety, Phillips decided to accompany Smith on Wednesday to the bus stop. Before the students even got on the bus, Phillips and Mickens began to argue, and Phillips pushed the teen, witnesses told deputies. Phillips believes Mickens was behind the attack on her son.

“Words kept going back and forth or whatever, and he called me out,” Phillips said. “And I smooshed him in his face or whatever.”

Mickens slammed Phillips to the ground as the bus arrived, deputies said. Phillips then allegedly followed him onto the bus, grabbing his hair as the bus driver yelled that she needed to get off the bus and other students tried to stop the brawl.

Image: School bus, via Shutterstock

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Emotional Abuse Can Be as Damaging to Kids as Physical Abuse

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Emotional or psychological abuse can be as damaging as physical or even sexual abuse, an article published in the journal Pediatrics argues. has more:

Psychological maltreatment can include terrorizing, belittling or neglecting a child, the pediatrician authors say.

“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” Harriet MacMillan, one of the three pediatrician authors, told reporters.

What makes this kind maltreatment so challenging for pediatricians and for social services staff, however, is that it’s not defined by any one specific event, but rather by the nature of the relationship between caregiver and child. That makes it unusually hard to identify.

Keeping a child in a constant state of fear is abuse, for example. But even the most loving parent will occasionally lose their cool and yell. Likewise, depriving a child of ordinary social interaction is also abuse, but there’s nothing wrong with sending a school-aged boy to stew alone in his room for an hour after he hits a younger sibling.

All of this means that, for an outsider who observes even some dubious parenting practice, it can be hard to tell whether a relationship is actually abusive, or whether you’ve simply caught a family on a bad day.

Psychological abuse can also include what you might call “corrupting a child” — encouraging children to use illicit drugs, for example, or to engage in other illegal activities.

In their Pediatrics paper, MacMillan and co-authors say that 8% to 9% of women and 4% of men reported severe psychological abuse in childhood when the question was posed in general-population surveys of the U.S. and Britain.

Image: Sad girl, via Shutterstock

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Financial Crisis Could Be Raising Child Abuse Rate

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

The financial crisis that has engulfed the nation over the past few years has had an additional negative consequence, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics: a rise in physical child abuse.

The study, which focused specifically on mortgage foreclosures, was conducted by researchers at the PolicyLab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  It found that every 1 percent increase in 90-day mortgage delinquencies over a one-year period was associated with a 3 percent increase in children’s hospital admissions for physical child abuse, and a 5 percent increase in children’s hospital admissions for traumatic brain injuries suspected to be caused by child abuse.

“What this research shows is that there’s a connection between child abuse and families in financial crisis,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the child advocacy group First Focus, in a statement. “Unfortunately, Congress may make the problem worse with cuts to child nutrition, children’s health, childcare, and family tax credits. If Congressional leaders don’t protect these investments today, the danger to kids will increase when parents are pushed into crisis. Lawmakers need to understand that decisions about nutrition, health, and poverty, are also decisions about child abuse and neglect.”

Image: Family finances design, via Shutterstock

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Study: Child Sexual Abuse Rate Declining

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Though the Jerry Sandusky case, the ongoing scandal involving pedophile priests, and alleged sexual abuse at the Horace Mann prep school in the Bronx continue to make major headlines, crime statistics compiled by the FBI and other agencies show a decline in the overall rate of child sexual abuse.  The New York Times reports:

From 1990 to 2010, for example, substantiated cases of sexual abuse dropped from 23 per 10,000 children under 18 to 8.6 per 10,000, a 62 percent decrease, with a 3 percent drop from 2009 to 2010, according to the researchers’ analysis of government data. The Minnesota Student Survey charted a 29 percent decline in reports of sexual abuse by an adult who was not a family member from 1992 to 2010 and a 28 percent drop in reports of sexual abuse by a family member. The majority of sexual abuse cases involve family members or acquaintances rather than strangers, studies have found.

At the same time, the willingness of children to report sexual abuse has increased. In a 2008 survey, Dr. Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, found that in 50 percent of sexual abuse cases, the child’s victimization had been reported to an authority, compared with 25 percent in 1992.

The precise reasons for the declining rates are not clear. Dr. Finkelhor noted that most types of crime have plummeted over the last 20 years. But at least some of the decline, he believes, has resulted from greater public awareness, stepped-up prevention efforts, better training and education, specialized policing, the presence in many cities of child advocacy centers that offer a coordinated response to abuse, and the deterrence afforded by the prosecutions of offenders.


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