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Re: This is probably for public consumption

Posted by Rocky on February 02, 2003 at 16:56:17

In Reply to: Re: This is probably for public consumption posted by Sam AJemian on February 02, 2003 at 10:08:28:

Dear Sam:

My post is not meant to be a personal attack, I am coming at this issue from a technical and legal perspective. I admire what you do but I think the abuse issue needs a different approach that conforms with legal procedures and sound practice expectations.

If an individual reveals information regarding minors in the public domain it is an offence under most western criminal codes and/or family services statutes. People who have direct or good-faith knowledge of abuse must report such abuse to the appropriate authorities. Disclaimers regarding reserving the right as to what information to make public does not exclude any individual from their legal responsibilities. Confidentiality in these matters involving minors is also a requirement Even noting any family member's name that may even suggest identification of a minor is possible is also not allowed.

As mentioned,I greatly admire your work Sam and would not be happy to see you any less intense in your mission. I do, however, think that issues regarding abuse of minors have specific guidelines, boundaries and limits that must be respected and followed. This means all citizens; including press, advocates and other such public figures are required to report to the authorities the information they have and to avoid breaching confidentiality.

Putting individual's names or incidents in the public domain where abuse of a minor may have occured is often costly to the victim and usually negates the value of such publication. In addition, publication often does not ensure the safety of the victim or eliminate the offender's abuses. If the authorities do not get the first crack at the information stream in order to investigate and remedy the situation the victim often remains in real danger. Upon public disclosure without proper procedure, abuse victims within families often are taken elswhere or worst yet, continue to be abused by the offending famiuly member.

Although I work in the Canadian child protection system there are many similarities with the USA. I suggest that all involved in any abuse issues educate themselves on what is required of them in regards to how they respond. I sincerely hope you don't take offence at this post but I think how individuals should deal with child abuse is a critical issue.