Child Abuse

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio expects all staff (volunteer and paid) to adhere to the following standards regarding reporting suspected child abuse and conduct when in contact with girls.

Paid and volunteer staff members are expected to recognize the signs and symptoms of child abuse or neglect and report incidents immediately to the local county children’s agency. Once an incident has been reported to the appropriate agency, it is the staff member’s responsibility to also inform his/her manager.

Paid and volunteer staff members are prohibited from harassing or threatening harm to a child’s health or well-being which occurs through sexual abuse or exploitation, non-accidental physical touching, mental harassment, injury or maltreatment in any form.

Guidelines for Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
Definitions
What is child abuse? Non-accidental injuries by a parent, caretaker or other adult (often by an adult known to the child) which cause or create substantial risk of harm to the child.

Physical abuse: abuse represents an act against the child; health or safety is at risk.

Sexual abuse: any act of a sexual nature upon or with a child, which may be for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator or a third party.

Emotional abuse: chronic attitude or acts that interfere with psychological or social development of a child.

What is neglect? Failure to provide basic needs (physical care/supervision, safety, education, love) which places the child in a dangerous situation and which usually occurs over a period of time.

Physical Abuse
Appearance: bruises, welts, lacerations and abrasions; clustered marks, burns; skeletal injuries; head injuries. (Consider the number, location and stages of healing, or an explanation not consistent with injury.)
Behavior: fearful of physical contact; poor relationships; reports injury by parents or caretaker.

Sexual Abuse
Appearance: usually there is no outward sign; may have torn, stained or bloody underclothing; sexually transmitted diseases; pregnancy.
Behavior: child relates incidents of touching or other behavior that makes the child feel embarrassed, confused or unsafe; behaves in an abnormally seductive manner with friends or adults; fire-setting; abuse to animals; bedwetting; nightmares; poor peer relationships; eating disorders; fear or reluctance towards a caretaker, family member or friend; difficulty walking or sitting.

Emotional Abuse
Appearance: few visible clues; obesity or anorexia; hives; rashes.
Behavior: bed-wetting; poor peer relations/withdrawal; cruel behavior; fire setting; substance abuse; excessive risk taking; behavioral extremes.

Neglect
Appearance: chronic uncleanliness or poor hygiene (lice, scabies); body odor; squinting; unsuitable clothing or missing key articles of clothing; untreated injury; left alone.
Behavior: excessive sleepiness; begging; stealing or delinquency; chronic hunger; substance abuse; assumes role of parent, reports no caretaker in home; excessive school tardiness or absence.

Action By Volunteer Leader or Paid Staff
You are required to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect of any child under 18 years of age, or any physically or mentally handicapped child under 21.

Physical proof or other forms of validation are not required. It is the responsibility of the local (county) children's services agency, through its investigation, to determine if abuse or neglect is in fact occurring.

What if I am unsure?
If (as a volunteer or paid staff member) you are unsure, contact the local children's services agency to describe the situation.

How do I report?
Reports can be made by telephone or in person, and the individual making the report can do so anonymously. Any report is confidential. A report can be made immediately by telephone to the local children's services intake phone numbers for the 32 counties served by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.

What information should I give?
Reports should include:
  • The names and addresses of the child and her/his parents/guardians or person(s) having custody of such child, if known.
  • The child's age and the nature and extent of the child's injuries, abuse or neglect, including any evidence of previous injuries, abuse or neglect.
  • Other information that might help in establishing the cause of the injury, abuse or neglect.
  • Record the name of the intake worker who takes the report and note the date that the report is made.

Is this confidential?
Yes. Do not share this information with anyone other than the local children's services agency, your manager, or director of regional services within Girl Scouts of Western Ohio or her designate.

What happens next?
Any volunteer or paid staff member participating in good faith in the making of the report, or any volunteer leader or paid staff participating in a judicial proceeding resulting from the report, by statute is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of such actions. Any report made under this section of the statute is confidential, and any volunteer or paid staff member who permits or encourages the unauthorized dissemination of the report's contents is guilty of a misdemeanor in the fourth degree.

Does someone at the Girl Scout Center need to know?
Although reports may be made anonymously, immediately advise Girl Scouts of Western Ohio of any reports of suspected abuse or neglect involving either adults or youth in Girl Scouting made to the local children's services agency intake office by using the following procedure:
  • Providing a written report to the director of regional services or her designate no later than 24 hours after making a report to the local children's services.
  • This report should include your name, address and telephone number (as the person who made the report to the local children's services agency), the date of the report and to whom the report was made at children's services.

Action by the local children's services agency:
The local (county) children's services agency will make a decision regarding the need for immediate investigation of each report referred to it and determines the circumstances surrounding the injury, abuse or neglect, the cause thereof and the person or persons responsible.

LEGAL REFERENCE:
O.R.C. 2151,421 and I.C. 31-6-4-3(a)(1) through 31-6-4-3(a)(5)
Children’s Services Intake Phone Numbers
 
Ohio Counties
 
Allen County 419-227-8590                   
Auglaize County 419-738-4311          
Brown County 937-378-6104                
Butler County 513-868-0888   
Champaign County 937-484-1500           
Clark County 937-327-1700                 
Clermont County 513-732-7173          
Clinton County 937-382-5935               
Darke County 937-548-3840                
Defiance County 419-782-3881          
Fulton County 419-337-0010                  
Greene County 937-562-6600             
Hamilton County 513-241-KIDS (5437)
Hancock County 419-424-7022           
Hardin County 419-673-1101               
Henry County 419-592-0946               
Logan County 937-599-7290                
Lucas County 419-213-3200                 
Mercer County 419-586-5106              
Miami County 937-335-4103                
Montgomery County 937-276-1698     
Ottawa County 419-898-3688              
 Preble County 937-456-1135               
 
Paulding County 419-399-3756        
Putnam County 419-523-3893             
Shelby County 937-498-7213         
Van Wert County 419-228-5430           
Warren County 513-925-1600            
Williams County 419-636-6725             
Wood County 419-352-7566               
     
Indiana Counties
State-wide toll-free number 1-800-800-5556           
Dearborn County 812-537-5131             
Ohio County 1-800-800-5556                    
Parent Resource Line 1- 800-244-5373 
Switzerland County 812-427-3232