On February 2, 2010, the New York Times accurately quoted experts who put together the fourth installment of the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. But, since the New York Times reporter is not an expert on these issues, and since there is a lack of journalistic investigation overall in reporting about child abuse, I have problems with this story.
It talked about information gathered from “sentinels” – such as child welfare workers, police officers, teachers, healthcare professionals, and day care workers – across America. Reports from these sentinels about incidents of child abuse and neglect dropped 38% from 1993 to 2006. The study does not explain the trend, but other experts offered theories.
The Child Welfare League of America said, “There’s more public awareness and public intolerance around child abuse now.” David Finkelhor, and often used expert in collecting data suggested that the decline was a product of several coinciding trends, including a “troop surge” in the 1990s of child protective services personnel and the greatly expanded use of medications. He stated, “There’s a general change in perceptions and norms about what one can get away with, so there is much more publicity about these things.”
Robert Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform said, “The best use of scarce child welfare dollars is on prevention and family preservation—not on hiring more people to investigate less actual abuse.”
And yet, at the bottom of the article, it says, “More than half of child maltreatment incidents are not investigated by child protection agencies.”
Some year, some decade, we will have a realistic talk about child abuse and neglect and not take a statistic like the one above as reliable.
First of all, most incidents of child abuse and neglect are never disclosed. It was like that when I grew up, and it is still like that today. Families, who know who the child molesters and beaters are within their homes usually do not turn them in to the authorities but instead shame and blame the children to keep their mouths shut. The pedophiles and bullies count on this and thus remain off the records.
The sex offender registry is not anywhere near where it needs to be to deal with the problem. It is not a national registry that keeps records of every pedophile that has been convicted. They don’t keep on top of all the child molesters’ whereabouts so that when they move from state-to-state, the authorities can be alerted.
Just because there is a little more awareness of child abuse, it doesn’t stop the child molesters either in families or searching out victims on the internet. Many times after I give presentations I’m told, “I didn’t know child abuse was so prevalent.”
NOT ONE PERSON IN CONGRESS OR PRESIDENT OBAMA IS ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE.
So, the entire article is totally misleading because the bottom line issues are never addressed. The only way that is going to happen is if we publicly start addressing the real issues and stop putting these worn out theories in the newspapers.