Category Archives: Child abuse

Verbal abuse of children


In a national study of children, we studied those who were physically, sexually, and emotionally/verbally abused.  Children who were emotionally and verbally abused suffered the worse long term consequences, yet it is the type of abuse most easily   discounted and unreported.  Little by little, researchers are pointing out the devastating impacts of saying unkind things to kids and how words can hurt their self-esteem, lead to suicide and self-harm, and how it is replicated to inflict harm onto others.  Our article was one of the first to bring attention to the tragic and under-addressed form of child maltreatment.  Take a moment to look at our work:

Child Abuse Isn’t That Easy To Identify



Child protective service workers are sent out into the community to determine when child abuse has occurred.  Usually they make the right decisions, but sometimes they don’t.  When they don’t, the public rages.  “Off with their heads!” they imply as they chastise the workers either for not acting diligently enough on behalf of children OR for overstepping the bounds.  The pdf that I’ve written for you looks at the issues that child abuse protection workers face from a statistical point of view.  Perhaps after you read it, it may change your mind about the nature of their work, and the difficulties they face when trying to determine if a child is being abused or not.

Type I and II Errors June 2015

Protecting Kids Protects Organizations

Istock-Image-Commentary-VessingRecently the Chronicle of Higher Education asked me to write an article on how Penn State University failed to create the safeguards necessary to protect kids and colleges.   Here is the link for the article:  

The message is similar to the one I wrote a decade before in my University of New England Press book on How To Keep Your Children Safe and articles that I’ve written for the Child Care Exchange. Let me summarize the bottom line:

When a parent allows an organization of any sort to interact with their child, they are assuming that the organization and its employees will adhere to professional conduct and implement all policies and behaviors necessary to keep their children safe.  There is an implicit trust placed upon organizations to protect children and youth.  When they fail to do so, the partnership is shattered.  This is undoubtedly why the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, and Penn State tried to hush their employees’ problematic and abusive behaviors. The public now is skeptical of any and every organization and business with whom their children interact.  Things that perhaps a business could get away with in the past are more likely to be targets of concern.  False accusations could be made when a business isn’t transparent about their practices.  A  wise self-preservation strategy for organizations is simply “to do the right things” to protect kids.  In doing this, they protect their workers and themselves.  The bottom  line is that organizations have a wonderful opportunity to be a major force for social change when they add a child abuse prevention training protocol to their operations.

We can help you to help yourself.  Contact CAPTA4.Org and explore the many ways how at