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Children, Crime, Detroit Shoreway, Issues, Public Health, West Boulevard

At Domestic Violence Forum, children learn how to act when witnessing abuse

(Plain Press, November 2016)    Most of those in the audience for a Domestic Violence Forum at the Lorain Branch Library on October 26th were children — after school regulars at the library persuaded by the librarian to attend with offers of food- houmos, wraps, fruit and vegetables. With the third game of the World Series due to begin in an hour, the expected adult turnout did not materialize.

The dozen children in attendance were very attentive to the words of a speaker from the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center as she asked them if they knew what abuse was. The speaker dialogued with the children about physical, emotional and financial abuse.

Discussion included what to do if a child witnessed “Mommy or Daddy hitting on each other.” They talked about financial abuse where one person always controlled the money.

The Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center representative talked about the wrongness of name calling and bullying, saying in response to the insights of the children “sometimes when people get bullied, they end up killing themselves. That’s not ok.”

She also told children “it is not ok for anybody to put their hands on you.” In response to a discussion with children, she urged them to tell the principal if a teacher inappropriately touches them. “If the principal doesn’t believe you,” she said, “tell your parents.”

The Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy staff member armed the children with the number of the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center to call or text if they witness abuse. She urged them to call 216-391-4357 or text 22522 when witnessing abuse, or if they wanted to talk to someone about abuse. She said someone is available to answer the calls or text 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She urged the children to place the numbers in their cell phones.

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