Contributor Choice #884988

Combined Federal Campaign #9165

To report any suspected abuse, please Call the

Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-4-A-CHILD

or 1-800-932-0313
Contact Information

Telephone
724-941-3339

FAX
724-941-4750

Postal Address
1061 Waterdam Plaza Drive
Suite 204
McMurray, PA 15317

E-mail
shepherd@watchful.org



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Child Abuse and Family Violence Prevention Program

Girl molested by father while mom was working
A 9 year old female disclosed that her father had sexually molested her while her mother was at work. The mother initially did not believe the child, but after agency intervention, she was able to come to terms with the credibility of the child's statement and acknowledged that she would be able to protect the child. The father separated from the family and underwent treatment. He eventually was able to admit his responsibility and, given the fact that treatment was proving effective, he was permitted to reunite with them once the Watchful Shepherd was installed.

Reports are that the family unit has been able to remain intact and, along with her mother's support, the Watchful Shepherd has enabled the child to feel safe and secure. 

Mother learns truth about daughter's molestation
After being initially accused by the mother of molesting her 10 year old daughter, the father eventually convinced her that he did not do anything wrong. However, the mother soon became suspicious again of his activities and eventually became strong enough to insist that he leave the home.

With counseling and therapy she was able to deal with the reality of this situation and the pain that her child had experienced. The father was incarcerated, but upon his release, the family continued to be fearful of his attempts to harass and stalk them. The Watchful Shepherd program proved to be an effective deterrent, and provided the safety they needed. The father has since remained apart from the family and is no longer contacting them. 

Mother's lover threatens two children
Two children, a female, age 12, and a male, age 6, were frightened of interference by their mother's former lover, and from another individual who had sexually molested the girl. They were so fearful they were unable to sleep at night and were reliving memories of prior sexual abuse, especially as the perpetrator was being prosecuted for molesting other children.

The Watchful Shepherd program was instituted to provide an immediate alert to law enforcement officials. The family reports a significant overall improvement in the children's demeanor as a result. 

Immigrants face domestic violence by the father
A family from India was experiencing severe problems with domestic violence. The children in the household ranged from young teenagers down to age 8. The marriage between the mother and father became physically and emotionally charged, leading the father to resort to physical violence in his attempts to control the mother. He ultimately threatened her with a knife.

The consequences of the father's actions also touched the lives of the two children. The older teenage boy, in efforts to provide some measure of protection to his mother, was becoming increasingly at risk from his father and was also experiencing severe depression. Also a younger sibling in the household had threatened suicide, all as a culmination of the intensity of the family issues.

With intervention from the agency, the mother separated from the father, leading the father to return to India. However, he still posed a threat as he continued his attempts to control them on his periodic visits back to the United States. After the installation of The Watchful Shepherd program, a unique degree of security was experienced by all family members. The father, who was aware of the installation of the unit, took seriously its ability to provide immediate on-site protection from the local police department, if necessary. There has been a general resolution of the issues as a result of The Watchful Shepherd serving as a significant deterrent to further violence. 

Sisters are molested and later stalked by father
Female siblings, ages 10 and 11, had been molested by their natural father approximately 3 years earlier. Even after separation from the mother and a period of incarceration banished the father from the home, he continued to pose a threat by stalking his daughters and threatening the security of the family. These matters were also brought to the attention of law enforcement but since no actual physical violence had taken place, it was not possible to file significant charges against him.

Nonetheless, the children did experience emotional trauma over the possibility of any irrational actions on the part of the father. The mother also had mental health issues of her own, having been raised in an alcoholic and abusive family. There was also a concern that the mother's string of unstable relationships were not a stabilizing influence on the girls.

It was decided that the Watchful Shepherd program would provide a measure of protection for the children that was not otherwise available within the family structure and would also provide an opportunity for case management workers to review the overall environment. Case workers determined that despite her inherent limitations, the mother did provide emotional support for the children and that the bonding was a significant consideration in preserving this family structure. The children reported that the Watchful Shepherd Program enabled them to feel safety and was a potential resource if matters escalated. Overall, the Watchful Shepherd program provided the needed reassurance while agency protective supervision continued in the home. 

13 year old female is abused by her brother
A 13 year old female was referred to an agency for investigation of sexual abuse perpetrated by her 14 year old male sibling. Upon referral, the child appeared to be thin, visibly depressed and anxious about revealing sensitive matters involving her brother and family. The parents were initially uncooperative and resented the agency's investigation process. They appeared to be aware of issues with their son, but were somewhat reluctant to come to terms with the allegations of sexual abuse.

After an extensive interview of all family members, we were able to come to an agreement that the mistreatment had occurred, and that counseling and supervision were needed. We explained to the family how The Watchful Shepherd program would meet those needs.

The parents acknowledged that there were some periods of time between the end of school and the parents' arrival from their work place. The Watchful Shepherd was able to provide the missing link between the time when parental supervision would begin and the youths were being left alone. It was discovered that after a period of use with ongoing counseling for the family members, the child began to feel a much greater sense of comfort and stability. She eventually attained a normal weight for her age and expressed that she felt much safer with The Watchful Shepherd Program available to her. There was a general acknowledgement that her sense of well-being was much improved and relationships between herself and family members were normalized. 

Young man neglected by mother
A 14-year-old boy was suffering medical neglect by his mother. The boy had been diagnosed with diabetes. The challenges of being a teen with diabetes are many. Forget the junk food at the mall or pigging out at a party. You can't sleep late, because your blood-sugar level can drop dangerously low during an extended snooze. It can be tough to find a safe and private place to monitor your glucose levels. It is possible, however, to stay on top of the condition. This young boy had another problem. The money and insulin for his treatment was being exchanged to purchase drugs and alcohol by his mother with a substance abuse problem. On two occasions the young man was very ill as a direct result of not receiving the correct dose of insulin and proper nutrition. It is very important to take insulin regularly, eat a proper diet and monitor blood sugar levels. Failure to keep "tight control" over the disease can be very serious. After substance abuse counseling was provided to the mother and the child was permitted to return home, Watchful Shepherd was installed in the home. This young man was instructed on using the alert if he felt any symptoms of low blood sugar to call for help. This has relieved the tension and anxiety levels of this young man and has made his wish to be reunited with his mother come true. 

Young girl uses Watchful Shepherd instead of violence to protect family
A 12-year-old girl had continually watched her mother suffer from routine beatings and verbal abuse from her live-in boyfriend. While the young girl was never physically harmed, she suffered emotional and psychological abuse. As the domestic violence continued, the girl became very withdrawn, hostile and angry toward her mother's boyfriend. Eventually the girl threatened to kill the mother's boyfriend as a last resort to stopping the violence. The Watchful Shepherd was able to intervene and present alternatives in an effort to prevent a young child from using violence against violence and to help her feel secure if domestic abuse occurred in her home.

In many areas, there is no authority for Children's Youth Services to step in and remove children from an environment when the violence is not against them. But the emotional abuse that children often suffer when watching their family member suffer from domestic violence can have long-term effects on dealing with anger and expressing their emotions as they mature. Once again, the Watchful Shepherd does its job in helping to protect innocent victims of abuse. 

Personal Stories