Shield The Vulnerable
December 2009   |  ISSUE 1 Send to a freind | Print Friendly Version
Welcome to Our Premier Issue of The Safe Haven We're proud to announce our first issue of The Safe Haven. Besides diocesan personnel, volunteers and parents who registered for Shield the Vulnerable training will receive this newsletter.

The Safe Haven updates you every month on safety issues confronting our communities. We cover child abuse, cyberbullying, predator grooming, financial elder abuse, and much more.

Through awareness and education, we can work together to help the vulnerable—kids, tweens, teens, and elders—stay safe.

news

KIDS/TWEENS
Positve Parenting Program Works
Child Obesity:Child Abuse?
Bad Economy Behind Increase in Abuse Cases
Boy's Essay Leads to Child Abuse Charge

TEENS
Dating Abuse a "National Epidemic"
Dating Abuse Via Phone and Internet
Teen View of Dating Abuse
Unseen Emotional Abuse is the "Scariest"

ELDERS
Financial Elder Abuse as "Crime of the 21st Century"
Internet Scams Against Elderly Costly
Scam Caller Posed as Grandson

e-SAFETY
Cyberbullying Trumps Other Online Abuses
Computers Decide Abuse Risk in LA
Student Seeks to Erase Cyberbullying Suspension
Teen "Sexting"

LEGAL LOOKOUT
State Lawmakers Propose Abuse Bills
Failure to Report/False Report Criminal Charges
Child Abuse is Many Things

QUIZ CORNER
How well do you know these safety facts?

Positive Parenting Program Works While many studies look at abuse rates, it’s harder to come by what works to reduce abuse. A recent five-year study by New Zealand researchers, the first of its kind, says that getting information to parents makes a difference. The study found that the South Carolina positive parenting program “Triple P” significantly reduced rates of child abuse in communities with access to the program. Read more»
Child Obesity:Child Abuse
In response to the increasingly common problem of child obesity, an article in the Medical Journal of Australia asserts that severe childhood obesity may be child abuse, requiring a call to child protective services. This should happen if the parents will not help the child lose weight.
Read more»
Bad Economy may be behind Increase in Child Abuse Experts are saying the economic recession may be to blame for the increase in the number of child abuse cases being reported by many state child welfare agencies and hospitals. Read:

Officials Report Record Number of Abuse Cases»
Bad Economy Could Lead To More Child Abuse»
Emergency Rooms see Increase in Child Abuse»

Boy’ s School Essay Leads
A 9-year-old Wisconsin boy’s school essay that described "the painful afternoon my Dad shot me with a BB gun," caught the attention of his teacher, leading to the dad's arrest on a child abuse charge.
Read more»
Dating Abuse a "National Epidemic" Teen dating violence is a "national epidemic" that involves “one out of every five teenagers,” reports DigitalJournal.com. In response to several tragic deaths of teenage girls caused by violent boyfriends and male suitors over the past five years, Rhode Island and Texas have enacted laws to prevent dating abuse and others states are deliberating similar measures. Read more» Dating Abuse Via Cell Phone and Internet The New York Times’ in-depth look at dating abuse says abuse is increasing “as more harassment…takes place among teenagers on the Internet and by cellphone.” Read more»
Teen View of Dating Abuse Dating abuse may be a secret that kids don’t talk about even when it’s happening, says teenager-turned parenting blogger Vanessa Van Pette. She articulates "7 facts" to be aware of concerning “smothering and obsessive” teen couples. Read more» Unseen Emotional Abuse is the “Scariest”
A 17-year old high school senior believes emotional abuse is "scary" because teenagers may "never speak up and may not even recognize that it is abuse." Girls are told to leave a boyfriend "if he hits you once" but no one tells them to leave "if he yells at you until you cry".
Read more»
KNOW THE NUMBERS ...on teen violence
  • About 1 in 4 teenagers report s verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse each year
  • 81% of parents either believe teen dating abuse is not a problem or admit they don’t know it’s a problem
  • 1 in 3 teens reports knowing someone who has been hit or physically hurt by their dating partner
  • About 1 in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner
 
Financial Elder Abuse as Nearly one million seniors suffer financial abuse, and experts believe that the numbers will grow with the “aging population and their increasing net worth,” says a report by MetLife Market Institute. In more than half of financial abuse cases, family members and caregivers rather than strangers are the perpetrators. Read more» Internet Scams Against Elderly Costly Internet scams perpetrated on older Americans comprise 41% of fraud complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission, at a cost of $43 million. Other “old-fashioned scams” pushed the cost of financial loss to scam artists to $152 million last year. Read more».

And, a California senior was the victim of an apparent sweepstake scam over the Internet, fleecing him of his life savings.
Read more»

Scam Caller Posed as Grandson
While Internet scams are increasing, a 71-year-old Massachusetts man was a victim of another common type of fraud, telemarketing schemes. A caller posing as the man’s grandson told him that he needed bail money wired to him after he failed a sobriety driving test in Canada. Read more».
Cyberbullying Trumps Other Peer bullying and harassment is the greatest online danger for kids today, not adult sexual predators, says Harvard's Internet Safety Technical Task Force. The group’s conclusion contradicts a widely held view that social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook, increase the threat of sexual predation.
Read:

The Internet: Safe for Kids?»

Computers Decide Abuse Risk in LA Once a call is made to Los Angeles County’s child abuse hotline, social workers input risk-assessment information into a “Structured Decision Making” computer program that predicts—with more accuracy than humans--the likelihood that a child will be abused or neglected. Read more»
Student Seeks to Erase Cyberbullying Suspension
A former high school student, who ranted on Facebook about her teacher’s “insane antics” and invited other students to express their hatred of her, has brought suit to have her suspension for cyberbullying erased.

Read more»

To read about state legislatures that are proposing bills on both sides of the cyberbullying debate, go here» (Connecticut legislator seeks to prohibit schools from punishing students for off-campus Internet activities).

Teen “Sexting”
Teen "sexting"—kids sending racy photos of themselves via cell phone—is making news headlines as the latest technology-fueled trouble kids are getting into. And, the trouble isn’t kid stuff. Three Pennsylvania teenage girls were charged with distributing child pornography for "sexting" their boyfriends. In response, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit to stop the charges, stating "sexting" kids are "irresponsible and careless [but they are not criminal and they certainly haven’t committed child pornography." How prevalent is sexting? One out of five teenagers reports having "sexted." Click the links below to read the full stories.

Three Pennsylvania teenage girls were charged with distributing child pornography for “sexting” their boyfriends—sending naked photos of themselves via cell phone. One out of five teenagers reports having “sexted.” Click the links below to read the full stories.

Teens, Nude Photos and the Law»
Read more»

HUMOR "Sexting"

State Lawmakers Propose Abuse Bills
A bill in Wisconsin would eliminate an existing exemption under child abuse laws for parents who provide treatment through prayer.

In response to the tragic death of an infant whose family members remained silent, lawmakers are considering toughening the penalty—from a misdemeanor to a felony--for failure of family members to report child abuse in New Mexico.
Read more»

Ohio legislators will soon be considering whether dating violence prevention should be taught as part of the health curriculum in high schools, and whether to institute standard reporting policies for dating abuse similar to that is done for child abuse. Read more»

Maryland lawmakers are debating Senate Bill 238, which would raise the age limit of child abuse victims from age 25 to age 50 who may sue his or her abuser.
Read more»

Failure to Report/False Report Criminal Charges Most states have criminal laws regarding failure to report child abuse and making a false report. But, how often are these laws enforced and in what context? Here’s what happened in three such criminal cases.

An Iowa woman was charged with making a false child abuse report after she allegedly made a fictitious claim of abuse to her local child abuse hotline. Read more»

A Pennsylvania doctor was found not guilty for failure to report child abuse in connection with his examination of a baby who had suffered cheek bruises and a bite on her thigh. Read more»

And, criminal failure to report charges were brought against a school superintendent and principal of an Indiana high school for their inaction concerning a teacher whom they allegedly knew had sent sexually oriented text messages to one student and hit another. Read more»

Child Abuse is Many Things
Many states have laws equating drug use by a parent as child abuse as well as driving a car under the influence of alcohol with children as passengers. In New Mexico a new law provides that "placing a child in a home environment where methamphetamine is used is abuse of a child," Read more»


1. Caregivers and strangers are the most frequent perpetrators of elder financial abuse.

2. How many states have dating abuse laws?
3. What percentage of victims experience lasting health problems from child abuse?

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