Child Abuse and Children with Special Needs
For children with special education needs, the usual risk factors for child abuse such as dependence, vulnerability and family stress are intensified. In fact, a study from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) found that children with special needs are maltreated at 1.7 times the rate of other children and indicate that underreporting is a major concern due to communication issues and negative myths about disabilities.
Parents of children with disabilities come from every social class and value system, however, these parents may feel very much on their own may be stressed by ongoing health care needs, difficulties in finding suitable child care, financial burdens and social isolation, along with related difficulties such as depression and marital discord. Several research studies indicate that caregivers of children with special needs who perceive themselves as severely stressed are more likely to commit abuse. Unfortunately, many families lack of the necessary social supports or networks to work through the many concerns and situations that arise in providing care for their children and the rest of the family.
REPORTING SUSPECTED ABUSE
Remember, it is against the law to hurt a child. You must report it when you suspect a child is being abused. After you report abuse, wait a week and then call again to see what has been done. Watch for new signs of abuse and report each one. Each time you call, write down the time, date, and who you talked to. Write down the child's name and what evidence you have that the child is being abused.
Child Abuse Hotline:
- (661) 631-6011 (Countywide)
(760) 375-6049 (Ridgecrest)
(Report 24 hours per day, 7 days per week)
- Fact Sheet: Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities
- Recognizing Child Abuse
- Helping parents and children in difficult situations
- Talking to a child who has been abused
- Talking to parents about child abuse