Significant Others Often Don’t Stop Child Abuse


Samuel Moore, 5, died in Indiana last week, the victim of longtime abuse. Samuel’s mother knew that her boyfriend had been striking her son with his hand and a belt for five months, but police say she did not intervene, reports the Indianapolis Star. Parents turning away or ignoring abuse of their child at the hands of a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend is a recurring theme in abuse and neglect cases, which have claimed the lives of one Indiana child a week, on average, over the past decade.

Said Robert Billingham Sr., a professor of human development and family studies at Indiana University: “The June Cleaver image of the perfect mother willing to fight to the death for her child is a myth. The only thing we can say with certainty is that this is not as uncommon as people would like to think.” In Indiana, one-third of those accused in the 22 child abuse deaths from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004, was a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Authorities have cited that cause in at least three of six child abuse deaths that have occurred in the state in the past six weeks.


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