Ask Ava

Ask Ava, Episode 6: How to Help a Friend by Reporting Child Abuse

April 30, 2020 Ask Ava Season 1 Episode 6
Ask Ava
Ask Ava, Episode 6: How to Help a Friend by Reporting Child Abuse
Show Notes Transcript

How to Help a Friend by Reporting Child Abuse

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This week, we're talking about why it's important to report child abuse and how to do so. 

This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset. We are Somerset County New Jersey’s lead domestic violence organization, providing safety, hope and healing to survivors for 41 years. 

When 1 out of 3 teens experiences dating abuse before high school graduation, it’s all of our responsibility to work together to end abuse once and for all.  The Ask Ava series, developed by teens in our SPEAK Teen Leadership Camps, is designed to connect with and educate teens and those that care about them, about teen dating abuse and healthy relationships. We'll be answering this week's question with a deeper look here on our podcast. 

Today's question from local teens is: My friend told me about their parents physically abusing them, but asked me not to call or tell anyone because they don't want their family separated. What should I do?

Child abuse and domestic violence are closely linked – in fact, 30%-60% of children who witness domestic violence are experiencing abuse and neglect themselves, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Child abuse and neglect are issues that are 100% necessary to report immediately. All adult residents of New Jersey are mandated reporters. This means that adults need to immediately report if there is reasonable cause to believe a child has experienced abuse or neglect– this person does not need proof and it can be anonymous. Failure to report is actually against the law. 

When a report is made, it doesn’t mean that the family will be separated. Child Services will visit the home within 24 hours and assess if the environment is safe for the children present (who are under 18). That is their ultimate goal - safety. They help determine what the family needs at that time, including connections to other services. 

Please don't delay in letting an adult know if your friend is experiencing abuse within their family. This is a situation that can and often does get worse for your friend, and it shows maturity and strength to call attention to something serious like this. Call or text the Safe+Sound Somerset hotline at 866-685-1122 for more information. To report a suspicion of child abuse, please call your local police department or the Child Abuse Hotline for Somerset County at (877) 652-2873.

Visit our website at Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.