Do you think if Step Parent see's abuse they are just as gulity!?

Britt - posted on 07/08/2011 ( 133 moms have responded )

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Do you think if a SP (step parent) see's the bio parent see's the abuse and doens't speak up and just defends that BIO parent they are just as guilty? What are your thoughts?

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Gwen - posted on 07/08/2011

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Absolutely. Any parent, step-parent, teacher, neighbor, etc. who witnesses abuse and does nothing to stop it is as guilty as the abuser.

Catherine - posted on 07/10/2011

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i have read the above posts and really dont give a rats ass about income or bio or step parenting. i said before ABUSE IS ABUSE!!! report it and take the abuser(s) out behind the barn and show them how the abuse feels. kids are innocent. i was abused as a child. i have 5 children and i promise the world that if my children ever feel a day of harm i will make sure that the person who inflicts the harm will feel twice if not more. kids are the next generation of this world and if we do not teach them right who will. break the cycle now for the sake of the next generation

Sonja - posted on 07/08/2011

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I think anyone who sees that a child is being abused has to report it. Especially if that person is a step parent to the child. It is there job to protect the child from the other parent bio/or not. I think if this person does not report the abuse they are sending the message that what the abuser is doing is OK. And they are telling the child that they are not worth protecting. If you want to talk about who is worse...is it the person who hits the child, or is it the person standing by who just lets it happen? The person doing the abusing may need help to stop, to learn how to control their anger. Help them both by reporting it. Be a hero for this child and get him or her away from their abuser.

Amanda - posted on 07/19/2011

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They are as guilty as the Bi parent. No child should be abused regardless and the most reasonable adult (BIO or SP should always step in and stop it from happening.

[deleted account]

Yes. Plain and simple if you see a child (or anyone) being abused and you do nothing you are just as bad, if not worse than the abuser.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

133 Comments

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Julie - posted on 07/19/2011

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Karen - posted on 07/19/2011

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definitely it is a parents responsibility whether step or not to protect the child theiy are vulnerable and as such need all adults to protect them

Alisha - posted on 07/18/2011

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Hmm I would like a further explanation of what you are talking about. I think you mean a step parent witnesses the abuse of a child at the hands of their bio parent? I think that the step parent yes does have responsibility as well to protect the child and should insist that the behavior is wrong and the bio parent needs to get help for it or the step parent will report it.

Michelle - posted on 07/18/2011

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Yes and no. If you are getting abused too then other than recording all the abuse and then going to the cops and telling CPS that they can't go back to the BIO parent because of documented abuse. If you aren't getting abused and are just watching those pooor kids get abused you are just as guilty for not reporting it. Turning a blind eye to these this only end up in both going to jail. Abuse is abuse. Home is suposed to be a safe place to go, not where hell is.

Onthego - posted on 07/17/2011

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Hi there, interesting question. I'd say yes, they're also guilty to some degree -whether they're step parents, biological parents, aunts, uncles, friends or neighbors. If someone knows that a child, adult, or even animal is being abused, they should report it. Letting abuse go on is irresponsible.

Julie - posted on 07/16/2011

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Yep....any physical is easy to see but emotional and verablp abuse is a strange one...don`t forget that while someone else is being picked on,,maybe the partner is let off the hook abit... and is scred at what will happen to them.... I beleive that any abuse should be reported but also know that if someone is living in physical or emotional fear of someone they are not able to function in the same way as others...they have called the work of an emotional and verbal abuser ...CRAZY MAKING ...and this becasue they make the other person feel as if they are going mad..things don`t add up etc... the lies, the contradictions...the name calling what ever it is.... so keep that in mind....some really strong confident women ahve been brought down by some abusers who havenet touched them physically...

Julie - posted on 07/16/2011

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Yep....any physical is easy to see but emotional and verablp abuse is a strange one...don`t forget that while someone else is being picked on,,maybe the partner is let off the hook abit... and is scred at what will happen to them.... I beleive that any abuse should be reported but also know that if someone is living in physical or emotional fear of someone they are not able to function in the same way as others...they have called the work of an emotional and verbal abuser ...CRAZY MAKING ...and this becasue they make the other person feel as if they are going mad..things don`t add up etc... the lies, the contradictions...the name calling what ever it is.... so keep that in mind....some really strong confident women ahve been brought down by some abusers who havenet touched them physically...





Some other info on verbal and emotional abuse...

Another important book in understanding verbal abuse is one that describes the phenomenon of "crazymaking." George Bach and Ronald Deutsch wrote Stop! You're Driving Me Crazy.{2} They describe what the crazymaking experience feels like. This includes "feeling temporarily thrown off balance," "feeling lost and not knowing where to turn," and "being caught off guard."



A victim is often the target of angry outbursts, sarcasm, or cool indifference. The abuser's reaction to these actions is frequently cloaked in a "What's wrong with you?" attitude. She is accused of "making a mountain out of a molehill." Over time she loses her balance and equilibrium and begins to wonder if she is the one who is crazy.



The key to healing is to recognize verbal abuse for what it is and to begin to take deliberate steps to stop it and bring healing. Since the abuser is usually in denial, the responsibility for recognizing verbal abuse often rests with the partner.

Characteristics of Verbal Abuse

Now I would like to focus on some of the characteristics of verbal abuse as outlined in The Verbally Abusive Relationship.{3}



1. Verbal abuse is hurtful and usually attacks the nature and abilities of the partner. Over time, the partner may begin to believe that there is something wrong with her or her abilities. She may come to feel that she is the problem, rather than her partner.



2. Verbal abuse may be overt (through angry outbursts and name- calling) or covert (involving very subtle comments, even something that approaches brainwashing). Overt verbal abuse is usually blaming and accusatory, and consequently confusing to the partner. Covert verbal abuse, which is hidden aggression, is even more confusing to the partner. Its aim is to control her without her knowing.



3. Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling. Even disparaging comments may be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way. But the goal is to control and manipulate.



4. Verbal abuse is insidious. The partner's self-esteem gradually diminishes, usually without her realizing it. She may consciously or unconsciously try to change her behavior so as not to upset the abuser.



5. Verbal abuse is unpredictable. In fact, unpredictability is one of the most significant characteristics of verbal abuse. The partner is stunned, shocked, and thrown off balance by her mate's sarcasm, angry jab, put-down, or hurtful comment.



6. Verbal abuse is not a side issue. It is the issue in the relationship. When a couple is having an argument about a real issue, the issue can be resolved. In a verbally abusive relationship, there is no specific conflict. The issue is the abuse, and this issue is not resolved. There is no closure.



7. Verbal abuse expresses a double message. There is incongruence between the way the abuser speaks and his real feelings. For example, he may sound very sincere and honest while he is telling his partner what is wrong with her.



8. Verbal abuse usually escalates, increasing in intensity, frequency, and variety. The verbal abuse may begin with put-downs disguised as jokes. Later other forms might surface. Sometimes the verbal abuse may escalate into physical abuse, starting with "accidental" shoves, pushes, and bumps.



Categories of Verbal Abuse

The first category of verbal abuse is withholding. A marriage requires intimacy, and intimacy requires empathy. If one partner withholds information and feelings, then the marriage bond weakens. The abuser who refuses to listen to his partner denies her experience and leaves her isolated.



The second is countering. This is the dominant response of the verbal abuser who sees his partner as an adversary. He is constantly countering and correcting everything she says and does. Internally he may even be thinking, "How dare she have a different view!"



Countering is very destructive to a relationship because it prevents the partner from knowing what her mate thinks about anything. Sometimes the verbal abuser will cut off discussion in mid-sentence before she can finish her thought. In many ways, he cannot even allow her to have her own thoughts.



A third category of verbal abuse is discounting. This is like taking a one hundred-dollar item and reducing its price to one cent. Discounting denies the reality and experience of the partner and is extremely destructive. It can be a most insidious form of verbal abuse because it denies and distorts the partner's actual perception of the abuse.



Sometimes verbal abuse is disguised as jokes. Although his comments may masquerade as humor, they cut the partner to the quick. The verbal jabs may be delivered crassly or with great skill, but they all have the same effect of diminishing the partner and throwing her off balance.



A fifth form of verbal abuse is blocking and diverting. The verbal abuser refuses to communicate, establishes what can be discussed, or withholds information. He can prevent any possibility of resolving conflicts by blocking and diverting.



Accusing and blaming is another form. A verbal abuser will accuse his partner of some wrongdoing or some breach of the basic agreement of the relationship. This has the effect of diverting the conversation and putting the other partner on the defensive.



Another form of verbal abuse is judging and criticizing. The verbal abuser may judge his partner and then express his judgment in a critical way. If she objects, he may tell her that he is just pointing something out to be helpful, but in reality he is expressing his lack of acceptance of her.



These are just a few of the categories of verbal abuse. Next we will look at a number of other forms of verbal abuse.

Other Forms of Verbal Abuse

Trivializing can also be a form of verbal abuse. It is an attempt to take something that is said or done and make it insignificant. When this is done in a frank and sincere manner, it can be difficult to detect. Often the partner becomes confused and believes she hasn't effectively explained to her mate how important certain things are to her.



Undermining is also verbal abuse. The abuser not only withholds emotional support, but also erodes confidence and determination. The abuser often will squelch an idea or suggestion just by a single comment.



Threatening is a classic form of verbal abuse. He manipulates his partner by bringing up her biggest fears. This may include threatening to leave or threatening to get a divorce. In some cases, the threat may be to escalate the abuse.



Name-calling can also be verbal abuse. Continually calling someone "stupid" because she isn't as intelligent as you or calling her a "klutz" because she is not as coordinated can have a devastating effect on the partner's self esteem.



Verbal abuse may also involve forgetting. This may involve both overt and covert manipulation. Everyone forgets things from time to time, but the verbal abuser consistently does so. After the partner collects herself, subsequent to being yelled at, she may confront her mate only to find that he has "forgotten" about the incident. Some abusers consistently forget about the promises they have made which are most important to their partners.



Ordering is another classic form of verbal abuse. It denies the equality and autonomy of the partner. When an abuser gives orders instead of asking, he treats her like a slave or subordinate.



Denial is the last category of verbal abuse. Although all forms of verbal abuse have serious consequences, denial can be very insidious because it denies the reality of the partner. In fact, a verbal abuser could read over this list of categories and insist that he is not abusive.



That is why it is so important for the partner to recognize these characteristics and categories since the abuser is usually in denial. Thus, the responsibility for recognizing verbal abuse and doing something about it often rests with the partner.

Sal - posted on 07/15/2011

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yes...in exactly the same why a bio parent see the other bio parent abuse and not do anything, or if a grand parent or freind does....as adults we all have the responsibility to watchout for and protct the kids in our lives

Brenda - posted on 07/14/2011

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I agree they are guilty...Anyone that sees a child being abused should report it...

Nicola - posted on 07/14/2011

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Last Monday my children and I were required to attend they're fathers AVO hearing. Upon seeing they're father with 2 legal representatives, the police prosecutor who is advocating for my children withdrew them from taking the stand. Naively I thought the kids would mearly be on the stand to tell what happened, but she said that would change now if they were to take the stand. It appeared that the objective of one of his lawyers was to cross examine and to find a method to convince the magistrate that they are lying. She said each of my 2 children would be on the stand for roughly an hour each being interrogated. She also mentioned that due to this, they would likely incur a form of mental disfunction. She also told me that one of his solicitors had subpoenaed my 11 year old sons school teacher. The only reason why I could imagine he did this was because my sons report card expressed that he had not achieved anything in the last term, so I'm assuming it was to outline my sons academic decline while in my fulltime care. I wasn't allowed into the court room until the end, to which the magistrate asked for an adjournment and if I would like to take the place on the stand instead of my children. Of course I agreed.. I would much rather be interigated instead of my children being subjected to this abuse. I can not accept that any parent would intentionally want to cause further trauma to they're children. 9 and 11 is far too young for any child to have they're father, step mother and 2 lawyers intimidating them in an AVO court situation such this. I'm so thankful to the police prosecutor who put a stop to it! She is an angel! Without her my children may be self destructive !

Pamela - posted on 07/13/2011

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It is not up to me to assign BLAME or GUILT to anyone or anything because I cast myself in the role of judge, which is not a role I consciously choose. The RULE WITH ABUSE of any kind or upon any soul is to report it. How you choose to do that is your choice. You can a) speak personally to the abuser and tell them that it will be reported; b) report it to the "authorities" who may or may not get involved and who knows to what extent, purpose or result of involvement; c) give the situation to Divine Higher Authorities through prayer. You may choose to do one of these or handle it in another way. Just don't assign guilt and blame that eventually cause shame and pain all around. Wouldn't it be great if we just threw those words right out of our vocabulary! LOL!!!

Jessie - posted on 07/12/2011

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Not just as guilty, but definitely guilty to a degree. The SP may not speak up in front of the child but take actions behind the curtains to prevent the abuse from happening in the future. This one is tough because the age of the child and the degree of abuse (what one considers abuse may not be - my teenage son felt I "abused" him by making him share a room with his brother after failing a class) are big factors. The surrounding circumstances are important.

Heidi - posted on 07/12/2011

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All adults have a responsibility to protect children... no matter what the relationship.

Jareen - posted on 07/12/2011

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Brittany anyone who sees abuse and does nothing to prevent the abuse is guilty. As a child I was abused by my Step-Father and my Bio Mother, the abuse lasted with my Mom until I was 54 years old. I was the caregiver to my Mom and even though I took care of her she felt as though I owed her, two day's before she passed away while she was in the hospital she tried to break my hand, but the good thing about it Brittany I know that I did what God asked me to do, and that was to honor my Mother, today I have trust issues because of the abuse, but I have peace of mind knowing that I never allowed this to happen to my son's. No child or person should have to go through what I had to go through. Mean while I am still experiencing some sort of abuse, and that is from my two son's they don't call me or even wish me Happy Birthday or Mother's Day, and I was a single parent, it hurts but slowly God is taking away the pain for I have been both Mother and Father to these two young men, and I was the one who choose to stay and their Father's walked away. Most of all I know if I don't recieve my reward here on earth it will be in heaven when God decides to call me home. Mean while I am experiencing so much peace and joy in my heart, and I know it's only the love of Jesus that passes all understanding. I am now 57 and have not one person in this world physically that I can turn to, but it is sure nice to know that I have a God who is loving and kind and love me inspite of my foolishness. And this Brittany gives me the hope and peace that has not been in my life for as long as I can remember. God bless you and keep you. Ms. JJ

Tina - posted on 07/12/2011

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Karen, I understand what you are saying about the adult being abused but for crying out loud! A child can't do anything to defend themselves!!! An adult, scared or not, can and should. There are enough places out there nowadays that can and will help abuse victims that there is no reason not to get out of the situation.

Karen - posted on 07/12/2011

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Maybe the one supposedly just watching is also being abused and too scared to report it, they all need help.

Tina - posted on 07/12/2011

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"No excuse for child abuse."

If a child is being abused and the step parent doesn't report it, in my opinion, that parent should be in jail as well.

If you saw someone beating a dog, would you stop to help? These are our children, why is this even a question?

Claudia - posted on 07/12/2011

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Does not matter if you are a step paent, a bio parent, an uncle, grandma, friend, or a stranger. Abuse is abuse. Children need the adult to speak for their safety. The adoult that sees the abuse and stay quiet, is guilt. Plus, imagine, if the person is doing this to his/her own child now, he/she will problably do the same to your child. Set the standers up now for this child and your possible future bio children. Also, think if Caylee's grandma had not speak up? No one would know that the child was killed by her own biological mother. Step parents can be a blessing from God. I know that MY step mother was the only reason I had any relationship with my dad. You must be like her, or you would not be looking for help. I love my step mom, and my bio mom. Follow your heart.

Beth - posted on 07/12/2011

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I think it all depends on the sitation that you are in. If a child has bruises on them and it is not reported then yes they are just as guilty for not protecting the child. Any time anyone sees abuse going on they should report it. Both adults can get in trouble even if they did abuse the child its called neglect.

Antoinette - posted on 07/12/2011

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BIGTIME JUST AS GUILTY..CHILDREN ARE SO VULNERABLE TO POWER TRIPPING FREAKS. PLS SPEAK UP FOR THIS LITTLE PERSON WITH NO VOICE.PLEASE.

Carrie - posted on 07/12/2011

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What is the legal definition of "abuse"? In Oregon it is found here http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/children/abuse... and as you might note (as well as reading this thread) it can cover a lot of ground that many don't term as "abuse". Basically, what a child protective service considers is if a child is experiencing a "failure to thrive". Is it best to report an abuse or talk to someone about what you consider "abuse"? Can YOU help a situation so that it is the BEST situation for the children involved? When it is loved ones that you are observing is there a way YOU can lessen the stress? Is there something YOU can do to better that child(ren)'s environment? Are there tools YOU can give to that family to help them?
Right here many have said they consider ANY spanking "abuse". What about the child that continues to run into the road, no matter what the parent has tried to make them obey and STOP when the child runs? A firm swat on the bottom to get the childs attention as to the severity of the situation and the next thing the parent gets is a visit from a protective service? A mother, hectically/frantically trying to keep the home works two jobs and ends up using take out a lot more than she would want to, her kids begin to suffer from obesity. Is that abuse? Would you report it? Parents can't afford a babysitter to watch their children after school and use the television instead. Neglect? Would you report it? The black & white thinking here is scary. Where is the compassion? I have seen "abuse", where the children were being subjected to their parent's alcohol abuse to the point where sex parties were taking place, in the home, in front of the children. Reported it and was told that the children (11 & 12) were old enough to "leave the home" if they felt threatened "at the time" and were to return when the situation was "safer". Our system is way overburdened and most often, unless there is eminent danger, the report lays on a desk until it is discarded. Do what YOU can to improve the environment of the child.
So much judging going on without all of the facts. No, a person is innocent until PROVEN guilty. Gossip and hearsay is not enough, nor is rule by the mob. We live in a republic, people, NOT (thank God) a democracy.

Keri - posted on 07/11/2011

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ANYONE who sees abuse should report it! If your neighbor across the street sees it, they need to report it. If the MAILMAN sees it, he should report it, if YOU See it and it's going on IN YOUR HOUSE you REALLY need to report it!

Arielle - posted on 07/11/2011

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Regardless of the relationship to the child, abuse should be reported. In my experience working with DCFS, we had too many cases where it was "too late."

Debra - posted on 07/11/2011

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yes they are... you are responsible for the protection of that child as well and need to make sure that the best interest of that child is ALWAYS first and foremost in your mind. So if the BIO parent is abusing/neglecting the child you need to report it.

Frances Fern - posted on 07/11/2011

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Well just so you know I did report it and was told by CSB to quit being a coniving b.... and leave my ex alone. Well he was finally found out and went to prison for 7 years but I will tell you it was not enough for what he did to his girls from his second marriage. I just thank God that he did not want anything to do with my children as they were growing up. Now they want nothing to do with him for which I also thank God. I will not say here what he did to his children but as their father he should never had touched them the way he did. Just know their sins will be found out one way or another just make sure you do all you can to protect the children. I even told their dr's nurses to keep their eyes open and they didn't... But he got his in the end
the mother was blind and had other health problems so she did not see what was going on.

Vicki - posted on 07/11/2011

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If you see a child being abused and do nothing to stop it then yes, you are as guilty as the abuser. All child abuse should be reported and stopped!

Trida - posted on 07/11/2011

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es, ANYONE who witness, or has suspicious of abuse going on and doesn't report it are Guilty... I believe anyone it doesn't matter who is it, teacher, Dr, neighbor, family member have the responsibility to report abuse or any suspicion of abuse going on... It can save someone LIFE.

Billie Jo - posted on 07/11/2011

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Yes, who else will defend/protect the child? It is everyone's responsibility, even a stranger walking by should report abusive behavior. Always put the children first!

Jennifer - posted on 07/11/2011

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What qualifies as abuse? Neglect?
Sometimes you could create a worse situation for the child or family

Lisa - posted on 07/11/2011

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Yes a step parent should voice their concern, but best the mention it to the bio parent they are married to first and let that parent speak with the other bio parent. It's a touchy situation and should be handled with care

Suzanne - posted on 07/11/2011

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totaly at fault to it is the responsability of every person regardless of age or status to a child to atleast try and prevent harm to a child.

Lisa - posted on 07/11/2011

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Absolutely! Just as teachers, counselors, clergy and others who work and interact with children are MANDATED to report abuse, ALL adults should report any abuse they see, no matter who it involves. Secrecy and hesitation have only caused more problems within society. Just ask the Catholic Church...like an infection, the pus will come to the surface again and again until it is properly cared for. Sorry for the analogy, but it fit. Speak up!

Elizabeth - posted on 07/11/2011

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Any body who see's a child being abused they have a responsibility to do something. They are just as guilty as the abuser if they turn a blind eye.

Angel - posted on 07/11/2011

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Anyone that knows a child is being abused and does nothing is as guilty and pathetic !

Elizabeth - posted on 07/11/2011

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I see an abuse of apostrophes up in here! But obviously anyone with evidence (not just speculation based on the odd bumps and bruises of an active child) should take additional steps to protect the child.

Julie - posted on 07/11/2011

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@Frances I know my ex and his psycho partner will abuse the child she claims is his - the probably have already. He abused my daughter badly (why I kicked him out) and she abused her daughter so badly that for years she wasn't even allowed to see her daughter supervised - and in addition to that, she has made lots of threats to harm my daughter. DOCS (what our CPS is called) is aware that both of them abused their own children, and how that they have a child that she claims is theirs (she sleeps around a lot so I'd give it a 50/50 chance), and is with them full time, he thinks the kid is his whether it is or not - yet despite their long history of abusing children and partners, DOCS won't even investigate.

But DOCS wouldn't do anything for my daughter when she used to be forced by the family court to go there every second weekend, despite the history of him violently abusing our daughter, and the psycho making threats to harm my daughter, - if DOCS won't investigate about a child who has been confirmed abused by one and threatened by the other, why would they do anything about a child who they don't have proof of being abused and threatened yet?

Julie - posted on 07/11/2011

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Anyone who sees abuse and doesn't speak up is nearly as guilty - and anyone who defends it is definitely as bad if not worse - violent bullies often stop if they are condemned by others in their life - but people who defend their abuse, it leads to encouraging them to do it more and worse.

That's one of the things I hate about my dad - both my parents are my real biological parents. My mum has mental health issues and becomes violent and abusive - but it's my dad whose behaviour I hate more - too gutless to lay a hand on us kids himself, but not only defends my mother but encourages her violence and abuse. In many ways, he is even more guilty than she is.

Debbie - posted on 07/11/2011

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as a step parent if I was to see the parent being abusive I would most definitely step up n open my mouth about it. if you dont u are not doing what a parent should when u married the parent of the children they become your children as well even if u didnt give birth. ur still a responsible parent,

Jennifer - posted on 07/10/2011

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Okay any state usually has this LAW, if you see abuse and don't report it, you are guilty. If you didn't shoplift, but you are present, are you not an accessory to the crime? Of course you are going to be just as guilty. You will be charged if the courts so desire, especially with kids involved. You are facing even more issues though because you are a third party that should have said something. It does not matter if you are an innocent bystandard, if you see a CHILD being abused, you NEED and in most cases are obligated to report it. If not, you could be held responsible and charged with the same exact crime.

Belinda - posted on 07/10/2011

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What a question. No matter where you fit in the picture, if you see abuse, you should report it to the authorities. No-one deserves to be treated that badly. And we are all responsible for crimes witnessed and ignored. Any person who is capable of abuse towards another person can just as easily abuse you if you are frightened of reporting them.

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