Resources


How To Recognize Abuse

#
Physical Abuse

It can be difficult to tell from a child's emotional state or behavior if abuse is happening. The best way to know if a child is being abused is if the child tells you. There are also some physical signs such as patterned welts, bruises, or burns that can indicate abuse. Those that strongly suggest a child is being abused include:

  • Injuries to the head, face, ears, neck, upper arms, back, thighs, or buttocks, especially in very young children who are not yet running or walking.
  • Numerous injuries, especially in multiple areas of the body or the locations listed above, which are attributed to the child being clumsy.
  • Injuries that do not seem to fit the explanation given for them.
  • Conflicting injury explanations by the child and caregiver, or those that could not have occurred due to the child's age or developmental ability.
  • Excessive absences from school or a child who wears excessive clothes to hide injuries.
  • Inadequately explained pain with movement, sitting or walking that may be the result of an unidentified abuse injury.
Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is any contact or interaction with a child in which the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator, the child, or another person. Sexual abuse can include touching and non-touching offenses, and exploitation, all of which are harmful to a child's well-being. Examples of sexual abuse are:

  • Abuse that includes touching the child:
    1. Fondling
      Making a child touch an adult in a sexual manner
      Penetrating a child's vagina, anus or mouth with a penis or other object, no matter how slight
  • Non-touching abuse:
    1. Indecent exposure or exhibitionism
      Exposing children to pornographic material
      Intentionally exposing a child to sexual acts
  • Sexual exploitation:
    1. Engaging or soliciting a child for the purpose of prostitution
      Including a child in filming, photography or modeling pornography
#
Neglect

Neglect can be manifested in many ways. It is generally defined as acts or omissions by a person responsible for the care of a child resulting in harm or having a likelihood of harming a child, that are not due only to the lack of financial means of the child's parent or custodian. This includes failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter, failure to treat a medical condition if necessary, or failure to provide adequate supervision of a child or to remove a child from an unsafe situation.

Internet Predators

Many people assume that children at risk for victimization are neglected or from dysfunctional homes. All children, even those from supportive families, may be at risk. Encourage your child to tell you immediately if anyone online makes him or her feel uncomfortable or makes plans to meet in person. Signs that an online predator may be connecting with your child:

  • Your child is withdrawn or isolated from family and friends
  • You find inappropriate material on the computer
  • Your child receives mail, money or gifts from an unknown person
  • You see unknown phone numbers on the phone or your billing statements

What NOT to do when you suspect a child has been abused:

  • Do not try to determine if the report is true
  • Do not use body language that displays anger or disappointment towards the child
  • Maintain your composure
  • Do not gossip about what you know to friends, family or co-workers
  • Do NOT confront the suspected offender - this could be unsafe and interfere with an investigation!

How To Respond To Abuse

Things To Say

Some things you can say that will help a child who has told you about abuse:

#
  • I believe you
  • It's not your fault
  • I'm glad you told me
  • I'm not sure what will happen next, but I will help you
  • I'm upset, but not at you
  • You can still love someone even if they do something wrong
  • Nothing about you made this happen - it has happened to other children, too.

Things Not To Say

Some things that are HURTFUL to say to a child who has told you about abuse:

  • Are you sure you are telling me the truth?
  • Stop lying, you know that can't be true
  • You must feel awful about that
  • He/She didn't mean to do that, let me know if it happens again
  • Why did you let it happen?
  • Why didn't you stop him/her?

Actions To Take

What to do after a child tells you about abuse or you discover a child has been victimized online:

  • Write down exactly what the child told you
  • Save all evidence of the online contacts such as emails, photos, texts or messages
  • Make a report immediately by contacting the Department for Children and Families Child Protective Services (1-800-922-5330), and call law enforcement if necessary (See "How To Report Abuse" tab) or call the CACSC for help

How To Report Abuse

There is a list of professional people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect. However, any person with reason to suspect a child is currently being, or has been injured by physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect should report his or her concerns. The law does not require proof that abuse or neglect occurred or that the reporter have actually witnessed an incident. The report is a request for an assessment of the condition and safety of the child.You may call the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330, which is answered 24 hours a day, every day, and takes reports from any location in the state. Information about reporting can be found at the Kansas Department for Children and Families website.

Reports are referred to the appropriate local office and if the local DCF office is closed, the report center staff will refer emergency reports to local law enforcement agencies. However, if you are concerned that a child may be in imminent danger, please call 911 in addition to making a report to DCF. Do not be afraid to act on your suspicions. It is safer to have a case investigated and find nothing wrong, than to find out later that a child who could have been protected was being injured or harmed


Tips to Foster Nurturing Families

#

Educate yourself.
Knowledge about normal child development is important in helping parents understand childhood behavior. Caring for children can become frustrating if adults have unreasonable expectations of children’s behaviors.

Learn and utilize effective discipline strategies.
Children need help developing their own self-control. Hitting, slapping, spanking, and other forms of physical punishment have been proven to be less effective and are linked to increased aggression and acting out in children. The goal of discipline is to teach appropriate behavior, not just “punish” wrongdoing.

Practice self-care.
Parents and caregivers need to attend to their own well-being in order to effectively handle the stress that parenting can create. Whether through relaxation techniques, pursuit of a personal interest or using creative outlets, adults who nurture themselves are better able to handle the challenges of parenting.

Ask for help.
It is appropriate to seek help if you need parenting advice, financial or safety resources, referrals for mental health concerns, or if you are worried about the safety of your child. The CACSC or any local Child Advocacy Center can help you protect your family and identify community agencies that provide assistance.


Tips to Protect Children

Talk to children about personal safety.
Review safety practices with your children not just once but in ongoing age-appropriate conversations. Teach children to not keep secrets and to tell you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Open communication is a protective factor for children and a deterrent to perpetrators.

Learn everything you can about the people who care for your children.
Ask your children about their activities when with a babysitter, at a friend’s home, or at a social function. Have conversations with friends’ parents about your expectations for supervision.

Select activities for children through organizations that screen their personnel.
Staff and volunteers at all agencies and places where children are involved should perform background checks and have strict policies against one-on-one or isolated interactions between children and adults.

#

Monitor computer use.
Keep home computers in a public area where you can see what your children are doing. Supervise what they are posting online and discourage the sharing of personal information and photos. Teach children to avoid any online communication with unknown people.

Practice "What If" situations with younger children.
Explore safety issues with your children and help them identify appropriate responses to potentially unsafe circumstances. Create a plan before the situation arises so children know how to act and how to get help.

If a child tells you about abuse, listen.
Believe the child. Children rarely lie about abuse. Reassure the child it’s not his/her fault and report the abuse to authorities.

Material on this page is derived from several sources including the National Children's Alliance.

Myths About Child Sexual Abuse

Social acceptance of myths silences victims and encourages public denial about the reality of this silent epidemic. Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic, neighborhood, racial and cultural barriers. Accurate information is critical when confronting and preventing child sexual abuse.

Myth: People who look and act normal are not likely to be child molesters.

A common and dangerous assumption is that a person who looks and acts “normal” would never abuse a child. Offenders are knowledgeable about the importance of their public image and can hide their private behaviors. They use a number of strategies that allow them to gain access to children. Many seek out volunteer or employment positions in close proximity to children and in roles with influence over children. They can appear charming, compassionate and sincere, allowing parents and other responsible adults to trust them with children. Most sexual abuse is perpetrated not by strangers, but by someone the child knows.

Myth: Only men sexually abuse children and girls are targeted as victims.

While perpetrators are men in the majority of reported cases of sexual abuse, women are also capable of sexually abusing children. Reports of female perpetrators are increasing, and female offenders have been reported in cases of abuse involving both male and female children. Sexual abuse is an act of obtaining gratification by using power, control and manipulation of a child’s vulnerability. Boys are targeted as victims just as easily as girls. Sexual abuse of male victims is underreported to a greater degree than sexual abuse of girls because of social and cultural stigma.

Myth: Offenders will target any child they have access to.

Offenders carefully select and groom their targeted victims, engaging the child and arranging circumstances in which they have access to the child alone. Not every child fits the mold of who a perpetrator is looking for – often a child who is more vulnerable emotionally or physically. Engaging a child is a process of obtaining the child’s trust and in many cases, the parent’s friendship and trust, as well. Because perpetrators do not abuse every child to whom they have access, it makes it more difficult for the abused child to be believed when he/she discloses sexual contact.

Myth: Children will tell someone if they are abused.

Children often do not report abuse and when they do, it will often not be immediately after the incident. A number of factors affect a child’s ability to tell. Offenders will emotionally engage a child in ways that prevent the truth from being uncovered – bribes, threats, and blaming. Children experience fear, embarrassment, guilt and shame, which lead to silence. Very young children often do not understand that what is happening to them is wrong. It takes time for children to process what is happening, understand the meaning and significance of the abuse and realize they will not be in trouble for what has happened before they are comfortable trusting someone with information about their abuse.

Physical Abuse

It can be difficult to tell from a child's emotional state or behavior if abuse is happening. The best way to know if a child is being abused is if the child tells you. There are also some physical signs such as patterned welts, bruises, or burns that can indicate abuse. Those that strongly suggest a child is being abused include:

  • Injuries to the head, face, ears, neck, upper arms, back, thighs, or buttocks, especially in very young children who are not yet running or walking.
  • Numerous injuries, especially in multiple areas of the body or the locations listed above, which are attributed to the child being clumsy.
  • Injuries that do not seem to fit the explanation given for them.
  • Conflicting injury explanations by the child and caregiver, or those that could not have occurred due to the child's age or developmental ability.
  • Excessive absences from school or a child who wears excessive clothes to hide injuries.
  • Inadequately explained pain with movement, sitting or walking that may be the result of an unidentified abuse injury.
Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is any contact or interaction with a child in which the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator, the child, or another person. Sexual abuse can include touching and non-touching offenses, and exploitation, all of which are harmful to a child's well-being. Examples of sexual abuse are:

  • Abuse that includes touching the child:
    1. Fondling
      Making a child touch an adult in a sexual manner
      Penetrating a child's vagina, anus or mouth with a penis or other object, no matter how slight
  • Non-touching abuse:
    1. Indecent exposure or exhibitionism
      Exposing children to pornographic material
      Intentionally exposing a child to sexual acts
  • Sexual exploitation:
    1. Engaging or soliciting a child for the purpose of prostitution
      Including a child in filming, photography or modeling pornography
Neglect

Neglect can be manifested in many ways. It is generally defined as acts or omissions by a person responsible for the care of a child resulting in harm or having a likelihood of harming a child, that are not due only to the lack of financial means of the child's parent or custodian. This includes failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter, failure to treat a medical condition if necessary, or failure to provide adequate supervision of a child or to remove a child from an unsafe situation.

Internet Predators

Many people assume that children at risk for victimization are neglected or from dysfunctional homes. All children, even those from supportive families, may be at risk. Encourage your child to tell you immediately if anyone online makes him or her feel uncomfortable or makes plans to meet in person. Signs that an online predator may be connecting with your child:

  • Your child is withdrawn or isolated from family and friends
  • You find inappropriate material on the computer
  • Your child receives mail, money or gifts from an unknown person
  • You see unknown phone numbers on the phone or your billing statements

What NOT to do when you suspect a child has been abused:

  • Do not try to determine if the report is true
  • Do not use body language that displays anger or disappointment towards the child
  • Maintain your composure
  • Do not gossip about what you know to friends, family or co-workers
  • Do NOT confront the suspected offender - this could be unsafe and interfere with an investigation!

 

Things To Say

Some things you can say that will help a child who has told you about abuse:

  • I believe you
  • It's not your fault
  • I'm glad you told me
  • I'm not sure what will happen next, but I will help you
  • I'm upset, but not at you
  • You can still love someone even if they do something wrong
  • Nothing about you made this happen - it has happened to other children, too.

Things Not To Say

Some things that are HURTFUL to say to a child who has told you about abuse:

  • Are you sure you are telling me the truth?
  • Stop lying, you know that can't be true
  • You must feel awful about that
  • He/She didn't mean to do that, let me know if it happens again
  • Why did you let it happen?
  • Why didn't you stop him/her?

Actions To Take

What to do after a child tells you about abuse or you discover a child has been victimized online:

  • Write down exactly what the child told you
  • Save all evidence of the online contacts such as emails, photos, texts or messages
  • Make a report immediately by contacting the Department for Children and Families Child Protective Services (1-800-922-5330), and call law enforcement if necessary (See "How To Report Abuse" tab) or call the CACSC for help

There is a list of professional people who are required by law to report suspected child abuse or neglect. However, any person with reason to suspect a child is currently being, or has been injured by physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect should report his or her concerns. The law does not require proof that abuse or neglect occurred or that the reporter have actually witnessed an incident. The report is a request for an assessment of the condition and safety of the child.

You may call the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330, which is answered 24 hours a day, every day, and takes reports from any location in the state. Information about reporting can be found at the Kansas Department for Children and Families website.

Reports are referred to the appropriate local office and if the local DCF office is closed, the report center staff will refer emergency reports to local law enforcement agencies. However, if you are concerned that a child may be in imminent danger, please call 911 in addition to making a report to DCF. Do not be afraid to act on your suspicions. It is safer to have a case investigated and find nothing wrong, than to find out later that a child who could have been protected was being injured or harmed

#

Educate yourself.
Knowledge about normal child development is important in helping parents understand childhood behavior. Caring for children can become frustrating if adults have unreasonable expectations of children’s behaviors.

Learn and utilize effective discipline strategies.
Children need help developing their own self-control. Hitting, slapping, spanking, and other forms of physical punishment have been proven to be less effective and are linked to increased aggression and acting out in children. The goal of discipline is to teach appropriate behavior, not just “punish” wrongdoing.

Practice self-care.
Parents and caregivers need to attend to their own well-being in order to effectively handle the stress that parenting can create. Whether through relaxation techniques, pursuit of a personal interest or using creative outlets, adults who nurture themselves are better able to handle the challenges of parenting.

Ask for help.
It is appropriate to seek help if you need parenting advice, financial or safety resources, referrals for mental health concerns, or if you are worried about the safety of your child. The CACSC or any local Child Advocacy Center can help you protect your family and identify community agencies that provide assistance.

Talk to children about personal safety.
Review safety practices with your children not just once but in ongoing age-appropriate conversations. Teach children to not keep secrets and to tell you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Open communication is a protective factor for children and a deterrent to perpetrators.

Learn everything you can about the people who care for your children.
Ask your children about their activities when with a babysitter, at a friend’s home, or at a social function. Have conversations with friends’ parents about your expectations for supervision.

Select activities for children through organizations that screen their personnel.
Staff and volunteers at all agencies and places where children are involved should perform background checks and have strict policies against one-on-one or isolated interactions between children and adults.

Monitor computer use.
Keep home computers in a public area where you can see what your children are doing. Supervise what they are posting online and discourage the sharing of personal information and photos. Teach children to avoid any online communication with unknown people.

Practice "What If" situations with younger children.
Explore safety issues with your children and help them identify appropriate responses to potentially unsafe circumstances. Create a plan before the situation arises so children know how to act and how to get help.

If a child tells you about abuse, listen.
Believe the child. Children rarely lie about abuse. Reassure the child it’s not his/her fault and report the abuse to authorities.

Material on this page is derived from several sources including the National Children's Alliance.

Social acceptance of myths silences victims and encourages public denial about the reality of this silent epidemic. Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic, neighborhood, racial and cultural barriers. Accurate information is critical when confronting and preventing child sexual abuse.

Myth: People who look and act normal are not likely to be child molesters.

A common and dangerous assumption is that a person who looks and acts “normal” would never abuse a child. Offenders are knowledgeable about the importance of their public image and can hide their private behaviors. They use a number of strategies that allow them to gain access to children. Many seek out volunteer or employment positions in close proximity to children and in roles with influence over children. They can appear charming, compassionate and sincere, allowing parents and other responsible adults to trust them with children. Most sexual abuse is perpetrated not by strangers, but by someone the child knows.

Myth: Only men sexually abuse children and girls are targeted as victims.

While perpetrators are men in the majority of reported cases of sexual abuse, women are also capable of sexually abusing children. Reports of female perpetrators are increasing, and female offenders have been reported in cases of abuse involving both male and female children. Sexual abuse is an act of obtaining gratification by using power, control and manipulation of a child’s vulnerability. Boys are targeted as victims just as easily as girls. Sexual abuse of male victims is underreported to a greater degree than sexual abuse of girls because of social and cultural stigma.

Myth: Offenders will target any child they have access to.

Offenders carefully select and groom their targeted victims, engaging the child and arranging circumstances in which they have access to the child alone. Not every child fits the mold of who a perpetrator is looking for – often a child who is more vulnerable emotionally or physically. Engaging a child is a process of obtaining the child’s trust and in many cases, the parent’s friendship and trust, as well. Because perpetrators do not abuse every child to whom they have access, it makes it more difficult for the abused child to be believed when he/she discloses sexual contact.

Myth: Children will tell someone if they are abused.

Children often do not report abuse and when they do, it will often not be immediately after the incident. A number of factors affect a child’s ability to tell. Offenders will emotionally engage a child in ways that prevent the truth from being uncovered – bribes, threats, and blaming. Children experience fear, embarrassment, guilt and shame, which lead to silence. Very young children often do not understand that what is happening to them is wrong. It takes time for children to process what is happening, understand the meaning and significance of the abuse and realize they will not be in trouble for what has happened before they are comfortable trusting someone with information about their abuse.

Child Advocacy Center Logo

1211 S. Emporia Ave.
Wichita, KS 67211-3211
Phone: (316) 660-9494

If you suspect
child abuse
or neglect
Call
911
or
1-800-922-5330

Get Our Newsletter

Select any additional activities you would like to get information on. Choose all that apply.

Golf Tournament
Heroes Gala