Real life stories from the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD

 

One day at the Hotline an 11-year-old boy called and said, “My mom beats me.” I asked whom he had told about this. He replied that he had only told “the lady down the street.” When I inquired about the beatings, he said that she hits him with her fist and kicks him, and that the beatings were getting worse.

I let him know that this was wrong behavior from his mother, and asked what he thought about calling Child Protective Services. He seemed to know about them and said, “I don’t have their number.” “I can give it to you,” I said, “what’s your zip code so I can look it up in my computer?” He said “I don’t know, but the lady down the street can give it to you. I’m in her house now.” (He had not said earlier that he was with her, and because it didn’t sound like a crisis call, I hadn’t yet asked where he was calling from.)

The “lady down the street” got on the phone to say that she didn’t know the child, that he had shown up in a bathing suit and no shoes and that she was going to leave her home soon for an appointment. I explained that the boy was willing to call CPS and that she should let that take place, that she should also speak to them, as she had to me, to fill them in on the details. I gave her the telephone number and mentioned that if CPS didn’t respond quickly enough, to call the police.

Before she hung up she said, “You know, the boy knew your number by heart. He didn’t even have to look it up.” “That’s wonderful,” I said. Her reply was “I think it’s scary that a little boy has to have a number like this in his head all the time.” I saw her point and she saw mine. I thanked her for being available for this neighborhood child. She thanked me. Sometimes is really does take a village.

-Certified Counselor from the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

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