Comments for Bruising on my stepdaughter; a cause for concern?

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Apr 16, 2008
YES, there is cause for concern...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Clearly, something is not right in your stepdaughter's life. She's exhibiting physical, behavioural and emotional signs that could—and is quite likely—evidence of child abuse. But it might NOT be child abuse, or if it is, it might not be the type of abuse or from the source you believe it to be.

You should report what you suspect to your local child protection agency, just don't expect much to come of it if your stepdaughter won't disclose and/or keeps changing her story. That is one of the dilemmas that child protection workers face when it comes to substantiating child abuse. But at least the report will be on record. As for the doctor who examined your stepdaughter...his hyper-pigmentation diagnosis will not help the situation if she really IS being abused. But as I stated above, it's possible that she is not being abused.

What you do NOT want to do is conduct your own investigation, nor do you want to interrogate your stepdaughter. Leave this to the social worker; otherwise you could jeopardize the investigation and any positive outcome.

If your stepdaughter decides to disclose to you, follow the H.E.A.R.S. method I've outlined on my child abuse intervention page. This page also identifies why children do and do not disclose; information I believe you'll find helpful in understanding what is going on with your stepdaughter.

While I admire how caring you are about your stepdaughter, and I don't want to take away from your loving nature, I am left asking where your stepdaughter's father is in all this. This is his daughter; he should be the one taking steps to determine what is going on and then taking appropriate and necessary action from there.

Regardless of whether or not child abuse is substantiated, I strongly recommend some form of counselling for your stepdaughter in order to help with her emotional state and violent behaviour.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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