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There can be no excuses in child abuse cases

Among the many truisms Family & Children’s Place regularly shares is that “there is no excuse for child abuse.” We do it on Twitter, on Facebook and Instagram, with and without hashtags. So we continue to be surprised and outraged when people make excuses for things such as not reporting abuse – often of their own child.

Such was the case in Gwinnett County, Georgia, near Atlanta, where a mother blamed her “hectic work schedule,” for not telling police that her boyfriend sexually abused her six-year-old daughter. Too busy at work to protect her daughter? Shocking, and appalling.

The child’s grandmother took her to the hospital in April 2015, after learning the girl had been molested in December of 2014. The girl’s mother told police she was aware of the incident in December but didn’t report the assault because “she had a hectic work schedule” and her boyfriend denied the allegations.

Police ignored the excuse and denial, and charged the boyfriend and the mother. The boyfriend faces three years in prison and two years’ probation for sexual battery; the mother faces eight years of probation for first-degree cruelty to children for failing to report the abuse and telling her daughter to lie about.

It’s unthinkable that a mother would not do everything she could to protect her child, and even more so that she would fail to report the crime and immediately seek help for her daughter. That she told her daughter to lie is incomprehensible. The mother’s very intentional acts compounded the girl’s injuries and trauma, which will make healing and recovery an even more painful and lengthy process.

There is no excuse for child abuse, and no excuse for failing to report abuse. Children look to us, count on us as responsible adults to look out for them and to protect them. We cannot fail them as this mother did.

If you see it or suspect it, report it! And it’s better to be safe than sorry. A child’s health and safety, and perhaps even his or her life depend upon it.

No excuses. Ever.

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