Participant Definitions Of Terms:
· AT RISK = There is a potential for some imminent harm. Children are in danger of something. There is a good probability that something bad will happen to the child.
· ABUSE = Anything that seriously harms a child such as something that leaves scars or marks, breaks bones, or something like that. Verbal and emotional maltreatment also constitute abuse, but are not as easy to identify. Sexual abuse is totally unacceptable. Psychological abuse can be just as bad. (Note the above-mentioned criterion that the situation has to be extreme before intervention would be justified.)
· NEGLECT = Depriving a child of proper care, not paying attention, or not having an interest in your child. Neglect can be very subtle, e.g., using the TV as a baby sitter. (Again, note the above criterion that the situation needs to be extreme before intervention is justified.)
Participants generally agreed that abuse and neglect are equally bad.
· Neglect always leads to abuse. It’s the groundwork.
However, some people in all groups said that abuse is worse.
· Abuse leaves scars for a lifetime but eventually they will get over neglect. (There seems here to be little awareness of the long-term physical, psychological, social, and intellectual damage that serious childhood neglect does to children.)
Virtually all participants knew that anyone can report abuse or neglect situations. They said that they would either call the police or social services to make a report.