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What to do if you see a child abused in a public place

Is there anything you can do if you see child abuse in a public place? Here are some helpful suggestions:

Start conversation with the adult to direct attention away from the child.

For Example:

“She seems to be trying your patience.”

“My child sometimes gets upset like that, too.”

“Children can really wear you out sometimes. Is there anything I can do to help? ”

Divert the child’s attention (if misbehaving) by talking to the child.

For Example:

“That’s a great baseball cap. Are you a Cardinals fan? ”

“I like your t-shirt. Did you get that on vacation?”

Look for an opportunity to praise the parent or child.

For Example:

“He has the most beautiful eyes.”

“That’s a very pretty shirt on your little girl. Where did you get it?”

If the child is in danger, offer assistance.

For Example:

If the child is left unattended in a grocery cart, stand near the child until the parent returns.

If the child is in immediate danger, call the police!

Avoid negative remarks or looks.

Negative reactions are likely to increase the parent’s stress or anger, and could make matters worse for the child.

To Learn More Visit www.stbarnabascac.org or call the St. Barnabas Hospital Child Advocacy Center at (718) 618-8920.

To report suspected child abuse and neglect call 311 or 1 800 342-3720. Or call the Parent Helpline 1-800 342-7472.

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