An Alarming 25,000 Reports of Neglect, Physical, and Sexual Abuse of NH Children each Year
February 1, 2019
by Doug Robinson
Each year New Hampshire receives more than 25,000 reports of child abuse. Of that number, approximately 12,000 cases “go on or further investigation” and of that number, “2,500 (are) interviewed at Child Advocacy Centers.
“Please,” writes Chief Executive Officer of Granite State Children’s Alliance Joy Barrett, “Be the difference. Children depend on you to be their voice. Learn your responsibilities as a ‘mandated reporter’ to help and protect our most vulnerable children.
“Children depend on you to know the signs and children depend on you to be their voice. Children want you to be educated and informed so that you can protect them.
“The State of NH requires anyone 18 years and older, to report to the Division for Children Youth and Families any and all ‘suspected abuse when a child needs your help.’”
What makes these numbers most astounding is that NH was voted fifth best state in which to live in America. “Residents here are largely free of the fear of crime, with the third-lowest violent-crime rate in the nation. The future is bright, with America’s lowest child-poverty rate. And strong antidiscrimination laws help ensure that everyone shares those freedoms,” according to CNBC.com.
However, on April 20, 2016, the GSCA took their initiative for child safety to every city, town, village and neighborhood throughout N.H. Their initiative, called Know & Tell, is designed to “educate and empower adults to know the signs of abuse and tell the responsible authorities when they recognize them.”
Seth Meyers of ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers,’ who grew up in Bedford, performed shows to raise money for two child abuse nonprofits — CASA of New Hampshire and the GSCA, New Hampshire’s network of Child Advocacy Centers. He performed at the Capital Center for the Arts last February. His February 2018 shows raised funds to help support child victims of abuse and neglect.”
According to www.manchesterlink.com, “Meyers, who grew up in Bedford and attended Manchester West High School, returned home for the one-night engagement telling New Hampshire media outlets before the show that he was prompted by his father, Larry Meyers, to consider coming home to do a benefit, and that organizations like CASA and the GSCA who support victimized children in the state he called home for much of his life ‘made sense.’”
“Just drawing attention to the great work they do is one of the goals for tonight,” Meyers said in an interview with “New Hampshire Chronicle.”
“For every child victim who finds the courage to report their abuse, we know that nine do not. Statistics show only one in 10 incidents of child abuse are ever reported. In New Hampshire, we served 2,359 children in our Child Advocacy Centers in 2015. Meaning, that statistically there were 21,231 child victims that did not report their abuse in our communities alone. That is 21,231 child victims we need to rescue, one life at a time.”
Barrett continues to state, “Our mission is to give voice to the nine out of 10 victims that we have not heard from; the silent majority. We know when victims are denied the opportunity to heal they are more likely to struggle with depression, addiction and valuing their self worth. We cannot afford to let this continue to happen.”
The 11 Child Advocacy Centers throughout NH, “served over 2,100 child victims of abuse last year. But with only 10 percent of victims reporting, we know there are thousands of child victims still waiting for help.”
Working with their multidisciplinary partners, CACs serve victims of child neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, witnesses to domestic violence, trafficking and exploitation.
Some important statistics:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old;
- 90% of child victims who are sexually abused know their abuser;
- 90% of child victims do not reveal their own abuse;
- 1 in 10 incidents of child abuse age are ever reported;
- Only two-thirds of the adults in NH know they are personally responsible to report abuse;
- 27% of child victims served are between the age of 0-6 years;
- 60% are girls and 40% are boys;
- Abuse carries a heavy cost: $210,012 lifetime cost for each victim;
- 57% of child victims develop alcohol or substance abuse problems;
- 57% of child victims run away from home;
- 56% of child victims engage in self-injurious suicidal behaviors; and
- 28% of child victims will have academic problems
“Adults have a responsibility to be aware of any changes in child’s behavior, as well as the emotional and physical signs that can indicate abuse or neglect,” said Barrett.
“Know & Tell trainings provide expert, interactive, and dynamic workshops across NH on how to create a safe community where all adults understand their role as a mandated reporter,” wrote, Stephanie Arroyo, education coordinator & training specialist GSCA. Recently, every educator and every staff member of the Hudson School District (approximately 605 staff members) received an extensive Know & Tell education, provided by the GSCA.
“Our mission is to empower and to educate people to have the knowledge how to protect our children. We are about developing more than awareness; we are all about empowering people.” Stephanie Arroyo, also stated, “Our educational programs teach awareness and teach the signs of child abuse and how to make a report to DCYF. Our teachers are our rock stars for the protection of our NH children.”
“New Hampshire CACs are community partnerships, dedicated to ending child abuse by pursuing the truth in child abuse cases and coordinating social services for child victims,” according to the CAC. Visit www.cac-nh.org for more information.
For help, the phone number for the NH DCYF is 800-894-5533. Know that you can report anonymously. Any information you can provide is better than no information. Know that you do not need proof of abuse or neglect to make a report. “You only need to suspect,” states the law. For immediate safety concerns, also contact local law enforcement.
Youth-serving professionals and organizations can bring Know & Tell to their group through in-person workshops or registering for GSCA’s online Know & Tell eCourse (coming soon). For more information about the Know & Tell – Inform, Protect, and Educate program, visit the Granite State Children’s Alliance or www.KNOWandTELL.org or, e-mail, Stephanie Arroyo, email@example.com.