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Child Abuse

Seeking Help for Abuse

09/20/2004

Question:

My grandson is 14 now and has been diagnosed as mentally retarded/austistic..my daughter does not have residential custody of him, his father does. They are seeing a behavioral psychologist(?)..2 times a month. But the father is not grasping the extent of grandsons illness..He has told my daughter of two times in the last two months that he has hurt grandson because he makes him so mad. The last episode, grandson was told to draw picture of himself by teacher, father didn`t like it, made him draw it over, 6 times, by then father was more mad! Stood grandson facing wall to punish him and then got so mad he pulled his feet out from under him and his face hit wall and floor! My daughter took him to local hospital, called children services, also took him to Children` s Hospital in Columbus, OH..They took pictures of him, wanted to know what else she wanted them to do! She was there for 6 hours with no results. We contacted lawyer, said it would take a great deal of money to go to court, would take 6 months to year or longer, and didn`t necessarily mean she would get custody. We are at our wits end, we do not have a lot of money. Who can we get to listen and do something about this? Any info would be gladly appreciated. How much abuse do children have to take before someone will realize that it isn`t going to stop? The last episode that we know of, father was mad at grandson, grabbed him by the shirt and threw him down the stairs at home. Grandson finally menitoned it, so of course we had words with father, he doesn`t think he is abusing grandson. Thinks it is necessary to constantly have to hurt grandson to get him to listen! All these years , no one on our side of family has ever had to lay our hands on our grandson, never! Can you refer us to someone that will listen! Thank you.

Answer:

Your concerns about the physical abuse of your grandson seem very reasonable.  If Children's Services has been contacted already, I would suggest you begin by contacting the case worker and perhaps his/her supervisor to make certain that your concerns and the details of the events that you know about are well understood by them.  In addition, Columbus Children's Hospital has a child abuse program and their staff should be available to talk with you about the reporting and assessment process.

I suspect that because of your grandson's developmental disabilities an assessment by Children's Services will be difficult.  We know that children with disabilities are at risk of physical abuse.  Proving it, or at least arriving at an assessment that he is at risk for further injury, can be difficult.

 

 

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Response by:

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