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You witness child abuse, what do you do? Get involved, or back off?

This was originally posted in Debate, under Parenting Debate here on CafeMom Answers:

"I made a citizens arrest today. I witnessed a mother...

slam her 6yr old daughter against the pharmacy where I work. Mind you this is a brick wall. I was coming back from break and heard a child crying and the mother screaming. As I turned in that direction, the mother had her pinned against the building and was hitting her across the face and she had the audacity to spit in her face! I was LIVID! I stepped in front of the child to protect her and told her mom she was under arrest for child abuse. At that time I called 911 and all the while the profanity was coming twds me from the mom. She hauled off and nailed me across the eye, now I have a beautiful shiner and major headache! She was arrested for child abuse, assault & battery and God knows what else, and the little girl was taken away by Childrens Services Div. I'm really worried about this little girl. Have you ever experienced anything like this? I'm prepared to go to court if I have to, but I'm frickin miserable right now."

Would you have the guts to do the same thing if you saw this happen? I am a mandated reporter in my state because of my professional status as a social worker, so I would have had to call it in, but depending on whether or not I had my son with me and whether or not I thought that woman would hurt *my* child, I don't know if I would have had the guts to step right in. If I thought I could do so with no harm coming to my child, or I was alone, then I would have jumped right in!

BTW, I totally support the OP, I think she did the right thing.


Asked by dwmom2008 at 10:11 AM on May. 12, 2011 in Parenting Debate

Level 18 (5,767 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (28)
  • In NC by law everyone is a mandatory reporter. In this case I am not sure if I would have gotten in between but I would have tried to remove the child and called the police. If my child was there I would have just called the police and tried to find someone inside the business to come and help. I have had situations where a mom has threatened her child in front of me and other children, cussed at him and embaressed him. I did get security involved.

    Answer by gemgem at 10:14 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Oh hell yeah I would have jumped in she might of beat my ass but at least it would have been mine and not the childs!!!!

    Answer by buttonlts at 10:12 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Absolutely!!! God, just imagine if she was doing THAT in public, what that baby went through at home!!! Breaks my heart and pisses me off at the same time!!!

    Answer by CeeCee333 at 10:16 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Absolutely. This goes way beyond a pop on the hiney.

    Answer by ABeaverhausen at 10:19 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Thank goodness you were there when you were!! Sorry you got hurt, though. You have done a great thing for that poor little girl, hopefully her mom will never have custody again!
    Many years ago, I worked in a restaurant. One day, a mom took her daughter in the restroom, and beat her. You could hear the screams all across the restaurant, but my managers refused to call police or let any of us do it. The woman strutted out like nothing had happened. She had the nerve to continue to come in the restaurant after that. I could only imagine what the girl's home life was like. I found out too that she was a teacher! I often think back to that time, and wish I had done something.

    Answer by AngieBry at 10:20 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I am a county employee and would probably receive repercussions for it.........but by God YES.......I would've done the same thing.


    Answer by Dahis at 10:22 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • Get involved in a heart beat!

    Answer by older at 11:42 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I am a mandated reporter, as a teacher, and I most certainly would step between a child and a violent parent. The only thing that would hold me back now is that I am 9 months pregnant. The way I see it, is I am pushing 30 years old, I am healthy, I am strong, and if I get popped in the face...yeah that sucks...but I mean really, what is a black eye to me? A week worth of looking funny versus a child living in a house where they are scared all the time?

    If I had my children with me, I would tell my oldest to take her sister and go into the building for help, or give her the phone to call 911.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 10:55 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I have a bit of a temper and probably would have hit the woman back. But yes, I would get involved. Having been a child who was abused, nothing gets me more then child abuse.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 11:42 AM on May. 12, 2011

  • I have never been one to stand by and watch things go down... If I see something goin' on that I don't agree with, I jump in...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:45 PM on May. 12, 2011