Tom "Taylor" Pyles is a child abuse survivor and the founder The Blue Ribbon Project. He has been a police officer with Annapolis Police Department for over a decade and is assigned as a Detective in the Criminal Investigations Section. When not working, you'll find him spending time with his family and out enjoying the countryside on two wheels.
Having had a personal opportunity to speak with Ms. Liles after all this time, she shared `Florida's Child' - Bradley McGee's life story with C. Bailey-Lloyd. In her heartfelt words, she explained how she still advocates child abuse prevention, and still follows the case of Sheryl Coe, Bradley's biological mother. Today, we revisit Bradley's brief time on earth.
When humans are young, their world often revolves around their parents. Parents are the source of safety and security, of love and understanding, of nurturance and support. A child experiencing abuse develops strategies, which become coping mechanisms which enable day-to-day functioning, but yet help the child detach from the emotional and physical pain of events, especially when abuse continues over a long period of time (Henderson, 2006).
The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported; experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities. CSA is also not uniformly defined, so statistics may vary. Statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.
The following discusses signs of possible physical abuse. While much of this information can be valuable to all first responders, some of it may be beyond the experience of first responders who do not have an extensive medical background.
The definition of Child Abuse varies from state to state. Many states use Federal Law as a guideline when it comes to definitions.
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C.A. 5106g), as amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:
The physical abuse of children includes any nonaccidental physical injury caused by the child's caretaker. Physical abuse can vary greatly in frequency and severity. It may include injuries sustained from burning, beating, kicking, or punching. Although the injury is not an accident, neither is it necessarily the intent of the child's caretaker to injure the child. Physical abuse may result from punishment that is inappropriate to the child's age, developmental level, or condition. Additionally, it may be caused by a parent's recurrent lapses in self-control that are brought on by immaturity, stress, or the use of alcohol or illicit drugs. Caretakers may physically abuse children during discipline or as a way to "teach the child a lesson."
There are four commonly recognized forms of child maltreatmentÃ¢ÂÂphysical abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. The definitions of these types of child maltreatment may vary depending on the State or the locality in which the first responder works. First responders should become familiar with the definitions that apply in their jurisdictions. Additionally, the signs of child maltreatment listed here do not indicate absolutely that child maltreatment has occurred.
We all have an obligation to stand up for the rights of children and to be their voice where it matters.