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Child Abuse

Helping An Abused Child

08/28/2000

Question:

I have a friend who is living with an alcholic and drug addict. Her daughter who is 14, told her mother that her live-in boyfriend was abusing her sexually. The mother chose not to beleive the girl so the grandmother took over custody,now the problem is the grandmother constantly tell the girl her mother is a slut and a whore. What can I possibly do, this isnt a good situation either. The girl has tried to commit suicide twice.

Answer:

I am afraid you cannot make interventions with the adults in this situation although they clearly need help, but, you can and must make an effort to protect this child. This child needs an urgent psychiatric evaluation and referral to ongoing treatment. I believe she would be better protected if she could be placed out of the family situation until issues are better resolved. At the least you should make a referral to Child Protection in the county where she lives and explain the situation and ask for help. The Child Protection agency can arrange an evaluation, on going treatment and if necessary foster care for this child who is at very high risk. Make the call as soon as possible and remember you do not need to give your name. Good luck.

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Response by:

Patricia A Myers, LISW
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati