Important information, Phone Numbers, and Links 

 

 

Protect Mass Children 

http://www.protectmasschildren.org

 

The Warning Signs of Abuse in Children

 

  • Behavioral changes, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness & excessive crying.
  • Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed or other sleep disturbances.
  • Acting out with inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters.
  • A sudden acting out of aggressive or rebellious behavior.
  • School or behavioral problems.
  • Changes in toilet-training habits.
  • A fear of certain places, people, or activities.
  • Bruises, rashes, cuts, limping; multiple or poorly explained injuries.
  • Sexual activities with toys or other children, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children / siblings to behave sexually.
  • New words for private body parts.
  • Cutting or burning herself or himself as an adolescent.
  • Some children who are molested may not show any of these symptoms. Some child molesters groom their victims so successfully that the children love them and even try to protect them.

 

How Does it Happen?

  • A predator will win the child’s trust with treats, attention, and “love.” 
  • Predators convince children they are responsible for their behavior.
  • They make the child think no one will believe them if they tell.
  • They tell the child you will be disappointed in them for what they have done with them.
  • They warn the child they will be punished if they tell.
  • They may threaten the child with physical violence against them, you, a pet, or other loved ones.
  • They will shame the child into keeping the abuse secret.
  • They may make the child feel sorry for them.
  • They will do anything and say anything to keep assaulting the child and to keep your child from telling.
  • Children usually keep sexual abuse a secret because of the shame and guilt they feel. They may also fear that no one will believe them if they talk about the abuse or they may have been threatened by their abuser not to tell. 
  • For more information please go to 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

 

Effects of domestic violence on children

 

 

Children in homes where one parent is abused may feel fearful and anxious. They may always be on guard, wondering when the next violent event will happen. This can cause them to react in different ways, depending on their age:

 

Children in preschool 

Young children who witness intimate partner violence may start doing things they used to do when they were younger, such as bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, increased crying, and whining. They may also develop difficulty falling or staying asleep; show signs of terror, such as stuttering or hiding; and show signs of severe separation anxiety.

 

School-aged children

Children in this age range may feel guilty about the abuse and blame themselves for it. Domestic violence and abuse hurts childrens' self-esteem. They may not participate in school activities or get good grades, have fewer friends than others, and get into trouble more often. They also may have a lot of headaches and stomachaches.

 

Teens

Teens who witness abuse may act out in negative ways, such as fighting with family members or skipping school. They may also engage in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex and using alcohol or drugs. They may have low self-esteem and have trouble making friends. They may start fights or bully others and are more likely to get in trouble with the law. This type of behavior is more common in teen boys who are abused in childhood than in teen girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be withdrawn and to experience depression.

 

 

More than 15 million children in the United States live in homes in which domestic violence has happened at least once. These children are at greater risk for repeating the cycle as adults by entering into abusive relationships or becoming abusers themselves. For example, a boy who sees his mother being abused is 10 times more likely to abuse his female partner as an adult. A girl who grows up in a home where her father abuses her mother is more than six times as likely to be sexually abused as a girl who grows up in a non-abusive home.

 

 

Children who witness or are victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These can include mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. They may also include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, poor self-esteem, and other problems.

 

Each child responds differently to abuse and trauma. Some children are more resilient, and some are more sensitive. How successful a child is at recovering from abuse or trauma depends on several things, including having:

 

-A good support system or good relationships with trusted adults

-High self-esteem

-Healthy friendships

Although children will probably never forget what they saw or experienced during the abuse, they can learn healthy ways to deal with their emotions and memories as they mature. The sooner a child gets help, the better his or her chances for becoming a mentally and physically healthy adult.

 

You can help your children by:

 

1.  Helping them feel safe. Children who witness or experience domestic violence need to feel safe. Consider whether leaving the abusive relationship might help your child feel safer. Talk to your child about the importance of healthy relationships.

 

2.  Talking to them about their fears. Let them know that it’s not their fault or your fault. Learn more about how to listen and talk to your child about domestic violence. 

 

3.  Talking to them about healthy relationships. Help them learn from the abusive experience by talking about what healthy relationships are and are not. This will help them know what is healthy when they start romantic relationships of their own.

 

Talking to them about boundaries. Let your child know that no one has the right to touch them or make them feel uncomfortable, including family members, teachers, coaches, or other authority figures. Also, explain to your child that he or she doesn’t have the right to touch another person’s body, and if someone tells them to stop, they should do so right away.

Helping them find a reliable support system. In addition to a parent, this can be a school counselor, a therapist, or another trusted adult who can provide ongoing support. Know that school counselors are required to report domestic violence or abuse if they suspect it.

Getting them professional help. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy or counseling that may work best for children who have experienced violence or abuse. CBT is especially helpful for children who have anxiety or other mental health problems as a result of the trauma. During CBT, a therapist will work with your child to turn negative thoughts into more positive ones. The therapist can also help your child learn healthy ways to cope with stress.

Your doctor can recommend a mental health professional who works with children who have been exposed to violence or abuse. Many shelters and domestic violence organizations also have support groups for kids. These groups can help children by letting them know they are not alone and helping them process their experiences in a nonjudgmental place.

 

 

Call 800-799-SAFE (7233).

Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Get information in more than 170 languages.

You will hear a recording and may have to wait for a short time.

Hotline staff offer safety planning and crisis help. They can connect you to shelters and services in your area.

 

 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

The National Sexual Assault Hotline

Call 1-800-656-4673

Staff is available 25 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

The National Dating Abuse Helpline

Call 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453

Staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotlines

 

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call one of the 24-hour crisis hotline numbers below right away:

Samaritans Statewide Hotline

Call or Text: 1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Press # 1 if you are a Veteran

https://www.mass.gov/suicide-prevention-program

 

Bullying 

https://www.stopbullying.gov/

 

US Department of Veteran Affairs 

https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/-- 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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