The Child Abuse Prevention Coalition was present at the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday to spread its message that police would rather respond to a call on suspected child abuse even if it turns out to be nothing than to find out after a child has been harmed that people suspected abuse and failed to report it. The Coalition, a group that consists of fifty-six (56) agencies including the Chandler Police Department, a variety of children’s advocacy and violence prevention groups, and fire departments, was formed in 2010 in response to the murder of three-year-old (3) Schala Vera that occurred in Chandler in 2009. In addition to Schala’s death, five (5) other Chandler children died in 2009 as a result of child abuse. According to Chandler Police Chief Sherry Kiyler, “We want those people who don’t have to report (abuse) to realize that it’s OK to report, and we’ll tell them how to do it. Because I don’t think people know. They see something and say I don’t know what to do, I don’t know who to call. We want to help them figure that out. We want to get the community more involved.”
Specifically, the Coalition wants people to be aware of the potential signs of child abuse and to not hesitate to report potential child abuse to police. According to the Coalition, there are certain behaviors that a child may exhibit that are, at times, a sign that the child is being abused: (1) sudden changes in a child’s behavior, (2) withdrawal from his/her friends, (3) attempting to hide his/her body even though the weather is warm, and (4) an unusual attachment (either clingy or withdrawn) to adults. Police Sergeant Joe Favazzo said about reporting the abuse, “It can be confidential. We just want people to call. I’d rather have to respond to 100 calls that turn out to be false than to have one call where a child is harmed and someone could have reported it.”
If you are facing child abuse charges, contact the Phoenix child abuse attorneys at Oracle Law Group for assistance with your child abuse case.