Angelenos Have Little Knowledge of Child Abuse Signs

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles County residents are less likely than other Americans to get involved if someone else's child is being abused, and less likely to know who to call even if they do, according to a new report.

Angelenos also harbor more misconceptions about child abuse than others in the nation, according to a report commissioned by anti-violence groups, including the Joyful Heart Foundation and Safe Horizon, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported Monday.

"Child abuse has to get into the conversation," Peter Hermann, a Joyful Heart Foundation board member, said in remarks reported by the newspaper. "And I think that it will be introduced in direct proportion to our willingness to overcome our fear and our shame and our ignorance."

The study showed Angelenos had slightly more lax attitudes than the national average about how severe a problem child abuse presents, and admitted to knowing less about what, exactly, constitutes abuse or how to identify it, the Daily News reported.

Twelve percent of LA residents also mistakenly believe children are more likely to be sexually assaulted by strangers, rather than someone they know, which is actually far more common, according to the newspaper. Nationally, 4 percent of those surveyed held that belief.

And 25 percent of Angelenos believe children sometimes share part of the blame for their abuse, while 18 percent of other Americans share that view, according to the study cited by the Daily News.

"This data reveals that many residents of Los Angeles simply have little knowledge of the signs of child abuse, and this uncertainty is a major reason why people do not report to authorities and help a child who may be a victim," Safe Horizon Chief Program Officer Bea Hanson said in a statement quoted by the Daily News. Local residents keeping out of child-abuse incidents

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