Child abuse is a scourge. The Penn State debacle is ugly and disturbing.
The effects of child abuse are far reaching and tragic, not only for the children, but for society as a whole. The resulting trauma is not always, but statistically is very strongly, correlated with future mental health issues, drug and alcohol addiction, and criminal behavior.
Years ago, I worked for Child Protective Services, then as a mental health specialist at Group Health, and finally as a psychiatric evaluator for admissions at Fairfax Hospital.
It became painfully obvious to me that as a society it would be far better to prevent child abuse than to try to correct the terrible damage later. Reparative efforts can be costly, and not always easy. Additionally, in these days of large cuts to social and health services, access to services is becoming increasingly problematic for many.
One thing we might consider is more education through Public Service Announcements via the television to raise awareness of child abuse (it also, for example, includes neglect, negative verbal treatment and bullying) as well as the importance of reporting. Hawaii is my second home, and for years I have noted that they seem to make very good use of PSA’s.
We need to do much more to protect children.