The Times West Virginian

Opinion

March 6, 2014

Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children

If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.

Or would we?

In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.

That means that almost 23,000 innocents were hurt in some way — emotionally, physically or sexually — by an adult they loved and trusted.

The impact of that abuse affects each child for the duration of their entire life, whether it be that they find themselves in abusive relationships as adults or become the abusers themselves, abuse drugs and alcohol, develop behavioral issues or create unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the effects of the trauma.

In 2012, there were 4,591 individual children who were victims of abuse in West Virginia, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And if you think that a majority of those cases involved physical abuse, you might be surprised. More than half of those case were classified as neglect (2,484 or 54 percent) and about a third were physical abuse cases (1,565 or 34 percent).

Again, these numbers are not just claims of abuse or neglect, but actual numbers based on investigations where children were removed from the care of a parent of guardian and in some cases where charges were filed.

It doesn’t take into account the cases that were not reported, because that happens, or the cases that were not substantiated following an investigation, because that happens, too.

One would be too many. Knowing that there were more than 4,500 children abused or neglected here in our state last year is difficult to accept. In fact, it makes it hard to sleep at night.

What do you?

Well, that question comes to mind because of a recent case reported within our pages. A man at a grocery store saw a young boy who appeared to have large bruises on his face. He saw the child enter a car with adults and wrote down a partial license plate number and the make and model of the car.

Why? Because he was so consumed with fear that the child was in danger, because he couldn’t live with the thought that there was something he could do to help an innocent boy who could be in a dangerous situation and not act on it.

He reported what he saw and the information he knew to the West Virginia State Police. That particular case has not been litigated, and we certainly don’t want to make presumptions of innocence or guilt. But we do want to point out that one individual could have made a difference in the life of a child by being observant and reporting his suspicions.

If you truly believe a child could be in danger because parents are unable or unwilling to take care of them, or if they are at risk of being or have been physically abused, do not hesitate to contact authorities.

Last year, 1,640 children died from abuse or neglect in the United States, with more than 70 percent of them ages three or younger.

They say that it takes a community to raise a child. It takes a community to protect a child, too.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease

    “Preventable, but not curable.”
    That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
    He could also use the word “deadly.”
    According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.

    August 1, 2014

  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads