VAN WERT — Van Wert County Crime Victims Services Director Christina
Eversole said recently that there are not a lot of convicted child abuse
cases in Van Wert County. That doesn’t necessarily mean that more
aren’t happening, Eversole said.
In many cases, individuals are
afraid to report for fear of causing hard feelings in families or with
friends and neighbors. Now, in the midst of Child Abuse Awareness Month
(April), Eversole suggested several things that can and should be done
when there is suspected child abuse.
“Documentation of stuff,
whether written or pictures, is so important,” said Eversole. “You can
call Children’s Services anonymously. Be in contact with law
enforcement; you can always ask for a safety check of a situation where
you might suspect child abuse.”
“If law enforcement is informed of
potential child abuse in a situation, they can always run by or keep a
lookout over a suspected situation,” continued Eversole. “Documentation
is the most effective way to keep track unless you are willing to expose
yourself to the situation.”
Eversole said one of the things to
keep in mind is a home where dishes are piled up and even covered with
mold and mildew, garbage is present throughout the house and other
manifestations of clutter surround the home just waiting for an accident
to happen with the children.
“If it is possible, take pictures of
the prevailing clutter and the dishes piled up. Follow through with the
system, try to keep family members involved,” noted Eversole.
said that even if officials are called into the situation and enforce a
clean- up, unless there is counseling and follow-up involved, the cycle
is more than likely to start over again.
“Most people try to
leave the kids out of it,” said Eversole. “If there are cell phones
involved, see if questionable conversations can be recorded. Children’s
protective services can do an interview with the parents.”
said that if it’s possible, officials try to keep the kids connected
with home, parents, relatives or people they are familiar with during
investigation. “The kids have already been put through so much,” said
Eversole. “They shouldn’t uproot them and take them away from their
toys. So many are already so scared that they sleep with one eye open.”
many of the abused children are afraid to say anything because they are
afraid that they won’t be believed or what they say will come back to
make things worse for them. Unfortunately, there’s often a good reason
for their fears,” added Eversole.