Do not keep silent in face of child abuse

November 11, 2011

The scandal currently rocking Penn State and its beloved football coach Joe Paterno sheds important light on how we respond to child abuse. It's a reminder that the impact of remaining silent in the face of sexual abuse can be devastating.

We mourn the humiliation of the university and the coach, but let's give equal attention to the suffering of the victims. Some of the abuse was likely preventable had adults in the know, at the time, put their foot down.

Children depend on adults to protect them. If you see a child being harmed or hear from a child that someone is hurting them, I urge you to take quick action immediately. The Department of Social Services can be reached 24 hours a day at 410-361-2235.

Molly McGrath Tierney, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services.

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