Learn how to spot the signs of maltreatment
Each year in Wisconsin between 4,000 and 5,000 children are identified as being abused or neglected, according to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF).
April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of communities working together to help identify and prevent child maltreatment. Evidence and years of research show that children raised in loving and supportive environments are more likely to prosper academically and financially.
“As a healthcare provider it can be extremely upsetting to see a case of child abuse surface in our hospital,” said HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals Emergency Department Director, Robin Schultz. “It’s important for us to remember that how we handle these types of patient encounters may impact their lives indefinitely.”
Wisconsin recognizes six categories of child maltreatment, which include physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, the manufacture of methamphetamine, and abuse to unborn children.
HSHS hospitals encourage you to learn the signs of child maltreatment, which in many cases is committed by someone the child knows and trusts.
DCF Wisconsin says sometimes a parent’s demeanor or behavior sends a red flag about potential child abuse. Experts say a single warning sign of possible child maltreatment does not necessarily mean harm is occurring, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when the signs appear repeatedly or in combination.
If a child reveals abuse, it’s important to listen carefully, let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you, tell them it’s not their fault and explain what you’ll do next to keep them safe.
If you suspect child maltreatment, call 911 or Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
To learn more about the types and conditions of child maltreatment visit Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Additional information about preventing child abuse can be found at preventchildabusewi.org.
About HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1889, it has been meeting patient needs in western Wisconsin with the latest medical innovations and technology, together with a Franciscan whole-person healing tradition.
About HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the Founding Institute, and it is an affiliate of Hospital Sisters Health System. Since 1885, it has served the people of the Chippewa Falls area with health care that is high tech and high touch. Known locally for the quality of the care it provides patients, the hospital has been recognized nationally for its outstanding patient satisfaction levels.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states – Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visit www.hospitalsisters.org.