The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
Children are helpless and unable to make informed decisions. Lacking the strength to resist or escape a violation they have every right to expect the protection and support of adults. When this doesn’t happen there is a betrayal of trust that has a profound effect on the mind and actions of the child. It’s important that steps are taken to provide a renewed sense of security within the child and heal the damage done to the fullest extent it can be healed.
Part of this process has to include counseling. A person, let alone a child, cannot be expected to handle the aftermath of abuse with the reasoning and coping skills one would apply to other negative interactions in their lives. Abuse can have lifelong effects on victims and those who witness abuse and treating these problems is no small task.
In the case of child abuse the victim does not understand what and why this is happening; nor do they have the power or social awareness to stop it once it has begun. This makes treating children very complex when you add that a child may be unable to say how they have been hurt or how.
When victimized at a young age, children and adults seek therapy for a many reasons that are fallout from the abuse and not just the history of abuse itself. Immediately and oftentimes later in life other problems will hinder healing like substance abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression and the inability to have healthy relationships on any level. Counseling seeks to help victims deal with the abuse and with the psychological and social problems that can occur as a result. Undoing lifelong damage is near impossible when tackled alone.
Counselors and therapist are trained to utilize tools and processes whereby with careful observation and gentle interactions they can guide the victim to a point where fear, confusion, pain and betrayal can be dealt with. Additionally, people participating in this healing process realize that any progress made is just a small part of a long and complicated process as the child grows and encounters situations that reawaken fears and open scars that need re-processing for more closure and understanding.
For victims of abuse, counseling is not an option.
REPORT ABUSE AND INSIST ON BEING INFORMED OF THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO VICTIMS.
Not every person is expected to know what to do when child abuse happens. So how do you find the right help?
From the Childhelp Website:
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the United States, its territories, and Canada, the Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who, through interpreters, can provide assistance in 170 languages. The Hotline offers crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous and confidential.
What to expect when calling the Hotline
When calling 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), a qualified crisis counselor will answer and assist you, if you:
- Need help and want to talk to a counselor.
- Are in physical or emotional crisis and need support and encouragement
- Connect you to the best possible resources in your area.
- Have questions about the signs of child abuse.
- Need to find out how to report known or suspected abuse.
- Have questions about the reporting process and what you might expect through the process.
- Want to learn about Childhelp programs that will address you or your child’s needs.
- Want to learn about resources available to parents, grandparents & caregivers.
- Need emotional support as survivor of abuse.
- Want a referral to an agency, counseling or other services near where you live.
- Want literature mailed to you. (Allow two weeks for delivery via the U.S. Postal Service.)
- Want information on how to make a donation to Childhelp.
Childhelp crisis counselors cannot come to the home where the abuse is happening and take away the child or teen who is in danger of being hurt and put them in a new home.
The Childhelp Hotline crisis counselors can’t make the child abuse report for you, but we are here to help you through it.