From Joyful Heart Foundation
A new unprecedented statewide research survey on child abuse and neglect in Hawai‘i reveals that child abuse is a pervasive and serious issue. Nearly 40% of residents know a victim of child abuse, 9% say they experienced abuse themselves, and 80% of residents think child abuse is a major problem in society.
The survey reveals that residents are misinformed about what child abuse and neglect is and what the signs are to identify it. Sixty-four percent of residents say that it is difficult to identify warning signs of child abuse and neglect and 76% of residents believe that there are times when spanking is okay to discipline a child.
Additionally, the survey shows that a majority of residents fear that there will be revenge if they do report abuse. Fifty-eight percent of residents believe that there may be family revenge if they report, and 87% of residents said that knowing they could report abuse anonymously makes them more likely to report.
When asked what they would do if they suspected abuse, 75% of residents said they would likely talk to someone if they thought a child was being abused. At the top of the list were their friends and co-workers, followed by their families. Fifth on the list was a “social service agency”; seventh was the police and tenth on the list was CWS.
The survey shows that Hawai‘i residents have a low level of knowledge and understanding about child abuse and neglect. It is clear that there is an opportunity to better educate the public about this important issue. People need basic information to be equipped to help, and misperceptions and fears about reporting abuse to CWS need to be addressed.
Full Text: Perceptions of Child Abuse and Neglect in Hawai’i
SA: Poll on child abuse finds isle residents hold misconceptions