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Child Abuse

Helping A Family Through Child Abuse

03/28/2003

Question:

Hello,

I do not know where to get help, or if it is the right place to get an advice, since I do not know how to cope with this problem, with my family. My husband and I live with my mother-in law, father –in-law and 13-year-old brother-in-law. He is a great kid and very smart not just book wise but life wise. On Sunday I found out that my husband spent all day in a hospital with my brother-in-law. On Monday I found out why my husband and brother-in-law was in the hospital On Saturday night my in laws went to their cousins house, they stayed there until 12 am since we took the car they had to drive back home with my in-laws and cousin he 45 years old. After dropping my mother & father in law he asked if he can take John with him to fill his car with gas, in approximately 10 minutes they received a call from the police and found out that their was a problem with John, they asked if Michael was John's uncle, they said yes, and then the police informed them informed her that they both got arrested right down the block. After my in-laws ran down the block they saw both Uncle Michael and John standing in cuffs. The cops said "Since this neighborhood is a little unsafe we usually drive around at night to see if the neighborhood is fine. While passing by a well asked van we saw that 2 people are sitting in the back seat, we got out of the car and flashed a light in there to make sure that’s what we saw, after opening the car we saw, a man with a kid sitting on 2 different sides facing each other with there pants all the way down, and their penises all out in the open. We arrested them right away. " After questioning John he said “that usually Uncle Michael gives me the wheel to drive, because no one else lets me, and today after he let me drive a bit he asked me to do something, jerk off. He would tell us if he asked to jerk him off, or him self. My husband asked him if that happen before he said no, that this was the first time. he didn't say anything else about what happened or what Uncle Michael asked him to do. After they arrested Michael, my husband took John to the hospital to get all the tests done and it came out that he was clean. John is all quiet which is unusual, my mother-in-law wants to take john away fro a month somewhere, is this the right thing to do? Please let me know how can I help in this case and whom should I turn to? And how to help my family members cope with this tragedy?

Answer:

I am having a little trouble understanding what has happened and what exactly is your question. I believe you are describing circumstances including criminal charges and an arrest. It also sounds like medical care has been provided. The family might be helped through this phase of the investigation and the shock of disclosure if they had an opportunity to participate in counseling. Check to see if this has been offered. If not, they can ask the social service agency involved to arrange for counseling. In addition, if there is a children`s advocacy center in your County, they will be a source of information and help to the family. 

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati