Issue #11
December 20, 2019
Keep Our Children SAFE!
According to, there are 3.6 million reports of child abuse in the United States each year involving 6.6 million children. Try to imagine 6.6 million children under the age of 18 being put at risk due to physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and/or neglect. Child abuse occurs when a caregiver introduces any form of risk to a child, causes injury, death or emotional harm or when the caregiver fails to act in protection of a child. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the United States alone. In the 5 minutes that it takes you to read this newsletter, 60 official reports of child abuse will have been made. Today, 5 children will die from child abuse in the US. What makes things even worse is knowing that most child abuse goes unreported. In this year-end issue of the St. Charles Child Protection newsletter we will explore the various forms of child abuse and the behaviors commonly seen in abused children. Be advised that the content of this newsletter is emotionally difficult to read and it is intended for an adult audience.

Physical Abuse: Physical abuse occurs when a child is intentionally and sometimes unintentionally harmed in a way that results in bruises, blisters, burns, cuts, scratches, internal injuries such as broken bones, sprains or dislocated joints, emotional or psychological harm, or lifelong injury or death. Physical abuse includes striking a child, kicking, biting, pulling a child’s hair, choking a child, throwing, shoving and whipping. Spanking as a form of discipline is not generally considered physical abuse but experts suggest that caregivers use other ways of modifying child behavior. Physical abuse is often done by someone that the child knows. 28.3% of adults living in the United States report being abused as a child, making physical abuse the most prevalent child abuse problem in our country. In addition to physical evidence of abuse, the following behaviors may be seen in a child who has been physically abused:

  1. Aggression towards peers, pets and other animals
  2. The child is afraid of their parents or other adults
  3. Anxiety, depression, fear and withdraw
  4. Wearing long sleeved clothing out of season
  5. Violent themes in art and play
  6. Nightmares or insomnia
  7. Reports of injury or severe discipline
  8. Emotional and behavioral extremes, immaturity and acting out
  9. Self-destructive behavior or attitudes

Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse in children occurs when an adult involves a child in sexual situations or in sexual acts. It also occurs when an older child uses a younger child for sexual gratification or excitation. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact but it can also include forcing a child to view sexual content, talking to a child in a sexual or explicit way, or sexually exploiting a child. 20.7% of adults claim to have been sexually abused as a child. A sexually abused child may exhibit the following behaviors:

  1. Doesn’t want to change their clothes such as for gym class
  2. Withdrawn, anxious, or depressed
  3. Poor peer relationships 
  4. Aggressive
  5. Eating disorders or preoccupation with their body
  6. Poor self-image, poor hygiene, or a lack of self-confidence
  7. Sudden absenteeism or a sudden decline in school performance
  8. Substance abuse, recklessness, suicide attempts or running away from home
  9. Sleep disorders, fear of going to bed, nightmares, bet wetting at an advanced age
  10. Acting out sexually; masturbating
  11. Obsessive behaviors such as excessive hand washing, pacing or rocking
  12. Sexual behavior or knowledge that is advanced or unusual for the child’s age

Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse is when a child’s mental or social development is harmed. Emotional abuse from an adult includes rejection, shaming, humiliating, mocking, name-calling, criticizing, berating, terrorizing, isolating, encouraging misbehavior and involving a child in criminal acts. Aggressive or foul language is considered by many to be emotional abuse. Emotional abuse generally occurs over time and has a lasting effect on the victim. 10.6% of adults report being emotionally abused as a child. Emotional abuse is evidenced by:

  1. Habits like sucking, biting, rocking
  2. Learning disabilities and developmental delays
  3. Overly compliant or defensive
  4. Extreme emotions, aggression, withdrawal
  5. Anxieties, phobias, sleep disorders
  6. Destructive or anti-social behaviors (violence, cruelty, vandalism, stealing, cheating, lying)
  7. Behavior that is inappropriate for age (too adult, too infantile)
  8. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Neglect: Neglect is a form of abuse in which the responsible adult fails to give the appropriate level of supervision, affection and support needed to maintain a child’s health, safety and well-being. Neglect can take the form of physical neglect, emotional neglect, medical neglect or educational neglect. Examples of neglect include:

  1. Deserting a child or refusing to take custody of a child who is under your care
  2. Repeatedly leaving a child in another’s custody for days or weeks at a time
  3. Failing to provide enough healthy food and drink
  4. Failing to provide clothes that are appropriate to the weather
  5. Failing to ensure adequate personal hygiene
  6. Not supervising a child appropriately
  7. Exposing a child to unsafe/unsanitary environments or situations
  8. Ignoring a child’s need for attention, affection and emotional support
  9. Exposing a child to extreme or frequent violence, especially domestic violence
  10. Permitting a child to use drugs, use alcohol, or engage in crime
  11. Keeping a child isolated from friends and loved ones
  12. Not taking child to hospital or appropriate medical professional for serious illness or injury
  13. Not providing preventative medical and dental care
  14. Failing to follow medical recommendations for a child
  15. Allowing a child to miss too much school

Children who are neglected often wear clothing that is the wrong size, in disrepair, dirty or not appropriate for the weather conditions. The child is often hungry and shows signs of malnutrition such as low body weight, has protruding bones or a distended abdomen, is tired, sleepy or listless, or has untreated medical or dental problems.

Child abuse in its many forms is a widespread problem in today’s society. Our Child Protection program is designed to educate members of our faith community about child abuse in all of its forms and raise awareness of the depth and breadth of the problem. However, if all we do is inform our parish members about the problem we have failed. This is your call to action to help combat child abuse that may be occurring around you. If you suspect that child abuse has occurred, do the right thing – call 911, your local Child Services or me. Act now. An innocent child may be depending on you for their survival.

Montgomery County Children Services Division: (937) 224-5437
Warren County Children Services: (513) 695-1546
Greene County Children Services: (937) 562-6600
National Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 422-4453

Approved Volunteers

When organizing an official St. Charles activity involving children, please check the list below to make sure that your adult volunteers are approved to serve with children. For legal reasons, St. Charles Parish cannot publish a list of people who are prohibited from volunteering around children due to abuse. If an adult volunteer is not on the approved volunteer list, it could be for a variety of reasons. Most of the time it means that the person got behind on their bulletins and became inactive. Please have your volunteer contact Steve Morris and he can help resolve the issue. If your volunteer has not attended a Virtus ® class, please have them visit Virtus Online to create a Virtus® account and sign up for a Child Protection training class. Training times and locations can be found under the training tab by clicking on the Live Training link.

The next Virtus bulletin will be published on January 6, 2020
What to do...

If you witness or even suspect child abuse in any form, call 911 immediately!

Then, if the abuse took place on parish property, please contact Steve Morris at (937) 401-0521. Every report will be investigated by the Police, Child Protective Services, and/or St. Charles Parish and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati! Remember, you are a key part of our Child Protection team!
Stay Up-to-Date on VIRTUS ® Training

The VIRTUS ® program is designed to educate our volunteers and parishioners on important child safety concerns. Knowledge is power but only when you put it to good use.
I f something doesn't seem right—let us know!
Stephen B. Morris
Business Manager
937-401-0521 (direct)
Linking to third party websites referenced herein does not constitute endorsement of the third party organization by St. Charles Borromeo Parish, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, or the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
St. Charles Borromeo Parish