This is the third post in our series to honor National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Please read the first two posts here and here.

Previously in this series, we talked about the reality of abuse in Michigan and the signs and symptoms to watch out for.  Now we get to the best part- hope for a brighter future.

Children that are removed from environments of abuse and neglect can recover once they have access to quality therapy programs.

“Those that receive the help to work through the trauma have the same opportunities as anyone to live successful and happy lives,” says Don Guernsey MS LMFT FSAC, Director of Behavioral Health at Eagle Village.

Victims need access to the help though, and often that requires intervention from a source other than a child’s parents or guardians.

You may recall from our first post in this series, that Claire was saved from abuse and got the help she needed by the actions of a concerned neighbor.  39% of all victims in Michigan are under the age of four, meaning they simply cannot ask for help or find the help they need.  That is where people like you come in.

“You are the best chance a child has for a safe and nurturing life,” says Guernsey.  “Some ways you can make a difference are to help raise awareness of abuse and neglect, talk with state and federal legislators about the need for prevention and treatment programs, volunteer, offer financial support to prevention and treatment programs, and get involved in a child’s life.  Investing time in a child’s life can be done as simply as just being observant and watching for changes in behavior or mood.”

And if you have any reason to suspect abuse or neglect could be happening please contact Child Protective Services at 855-444-3911.

While the act of reporting could save a life, many people simply don’t report suspected abuse and neglect.  The reasons could include:

  • I don’t want to get involved
  • I’m sure someone else has already reported it
  • If I report it I will have to testify
  • I’m scared that the family will learn that I reported them
  • It’s probably not as bad as it looks
  • Reporting it won’t do any good anyway
  • I don’t want to break up the family

Fear of reporting can feel very real.  The reality is, though, there is no good reason not to report.  Michigan laws protect the confidentiality of anyone who reports suspected abuse or neglect and you will not be called to testify.

Victims of abuse and neglect cannot get the help they need on their own.  You might be the only hope that child has for help.

Please call Child Protective Services at 855-444-3911 if you ever suspect child abuse or neglect.

To close out the month of April, we will be honoring National Child Abuse Prevention Month with a series on what people like you can do to help.  Look for the last post in this series tomorrow.