Comanche Nation Family Violence Prevention Program

Lawton_More children are being abused and neglected in Lawton lately, and while the experts say they don't know why, they want it to stop. Doctors, teachers, counselors, and law enforcement officials came together at the Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton on Thursday to try to come up with a solution.

At the Comanche Nation Family Violence Prevention Program, they all saw graphic pictures of children who had burned or beaten by their parents. One child had even been put into a hot dryer. The goal of the program is to identify - and eventually prevent - child abuse. Anyone can help prevent abuse by reporting suspected abuse, whether it's sexual, physical, or mental.

A top reason for child abuse is a parent's frustration. According to one speaker, the economically disadvantaged may have turned to drugs, which could lead to abuse. All of the speakers emphasized that it's important to report suspicion of abuse - unusual bruises, etc. But, they say one individual report isn't enough.

Dr. Rick Miller, an Emergency Medical Physician from Illinois, says parents should realize that corporal punishment, such as spanking, isn't necessarily wrong. But, he says it can lead to abuse. When used appropriately, he says corporal punishment is "avoidance therapy." "If you teach a child to avoid being spanked - 'Don't do this' - that works when they're two or three," he says. "But, you want the child to incorporate limits, to understand they should have limits on their own behavior." However, Miller says spanking is only effective until the age of ten. "If still your limit is simply spanking when a child s 15, that child hasn't learned anything about limits," he says. "That child is going to have a terrible time interacting in society."

Miller says it's important to ask children questions if you suspect abuse. He says you can usually get answers if the child is about five or six years old. But, he says questions have to be appropriate to the child. "One has to ask questions in a language that the child understands," he says. "One has to use appropriate forms of questioning to get good information as to the potential that abuse may, or may not, have occurred. The bottom line is having a lot of people who care."

As we begin summer, one indication of a potentially abusive situation is if a child wears long sleeves in very hot weather. They may be attempting to hide bruises or burns. If you see any evidence of abuse, report it to police.

The program continues on Friday. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the program includes seminars on stopping sexual assault, date rape drugs, and determining whether a child needs to be removed from a home.