Do your part to prevent child abuse

Published 11:09 am Thursday, April 6, 2017

To the Editor:

Who can report child abuse and neglect?

Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected can make a report. Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect is the duty and responsibility of everyone.

N.C.G.S.7B-302 (b) is North Carolina’s mandatory reporting law that states, “Any person or institution who has cause to suspect that any juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent as defined by N.C.G.S. 7B-301, or has died as the result of maltreatment, shall report the case of that juvenile to the director of the department of social services in the county where the juvenile resides or is found.”

Is child abuse/neglect prevalent in our community?

Child abuse is extremely prevalent in our community. During the 2016 year Hertford County DSS investigated and assessed several reports of abuse/neglect in which 170 children were involved. Children are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in our society who cannot protect themselves from harm. Everyone in our society will encounter the presence of children. Many professionals are mandated to report abuse or neglect. If you have suspicion, do not wait and assume that someone else will make the call. Your call may be the call that saves a child’s life.

Listed below are some indicators that a child MAY show if they are or have been abused or neglected:

Child begging for food or stealing food;

No food in the child’s home;

Sudden behavioral changes such as withdrawal, eating patterns, or school performance;

Unexplained or suspicious injuries (burns, bruises, bald spots, unexplained fractures, abrasions);

Child (ren) unusually or extremely fearful of parent(s); and

Unusual sexual behaviors not consistent with the child’s developmental levels.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, IMMEDIATELY contact your local social services in Hertford County by calling (252) 358-7830 during business hours 8:30-5:00 p.m. or after hours/weekends/holidays contact Hertford County Sheriff’s Department at (252) 358-7800. All reports are kept in strict confidentiality.

Hertford County

Department of Social Services