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Many Houstonians Aren't Reporting Suspected Child Abuse

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Here’s some cheerful news for you: Only eight percent of Houstonians who suspect someone of abusing a child actually contact authorities, according to a survey released today.

The awkwardly titled “Hope Shining Houston Bystanders and Child Abuse Survey,” commissioned by domestic violence services agency Safe Horizon, asserts that “a shocking number of Houston residents are unwilling and afraid to report suspected child abuse.” The study was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, a marketing firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

The report claims that:

- “When actually confronted with suspected child abuse, 17 percent of Houston residents said they did nothing at all or were not sure what to do”

- 55 percent of Houstonians “incorrectly believe that physical evidence of abuse can be found in the majority of child abuse cases or were not sure”

- 42 percent do not know that people can report suspected child abuse anonymously

- 23 percent of Houstonians “say they have been in situations where they suspected a child has been a victim of child abuse, but didn’t know what to do”

Houston’s Children’s Assessment Center, which provides services for sexually abused children, will use this information as part of a campaign to spread awareness of how the public should react when faced with suspected child abuse, according to a press release. – Craig Malisow

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