Types of Crisis

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It can be difficult to determine certain forms of abuse. After all, what one person sees as normal child disciplinary practices, another person might experience as child abuse. This can be an understandable source of anxiety for those responsible for reporting abusive situations. The best thing to do is gain an in-depth knowledge of your state’s requirements. When you have a good sense of the law, you will be more confident in interpreting complex situations that appear to involve abusive behavior. This chapter includes general requirements to follow for each type of crisis situation you may encounter.

Child abuse and neglect puts a minor’s safety at risk.

Child abuse and neglect is any action or failure to respond to situations which result in physical or emotional harm of a child under the age of eighteen on the part of the parent or caregiver which puts the child’s safety in imminent risk. Child abuse and neglect can also involve sexual abuse or the exploitation of a child under the age of eighteen.

Domestic abuse involves physical or emotional mistreatment of a domestic partner.

Domestic abuse can be both physical and emotional. Examples include hitting, shoving, pulling hair, kicking, and destruction of property. Emotional abuse includes put-downs, having sudden outbursts of anger or rage, accusations of cheating, controlling the relationship, refusing access to financial needs, and forcing a partner to have sex.

Danger to self occurs when an individual threatens his or her own well-being.

When a person makes suicidal statements ranging from thoughts of hurting himself/herself to having a clear plan to die by suicide, he/she will need to be evaluated by a trained mental health professional.

Danger to others occurs when an individual threatens the safety of others.

Threats to harm or kill a specific person, or a plan to carry out a threat requires an immediate call to the police. While the person may say, “I didn’t really mean what I said,” it is not the responsibility of the staff member to determine how realistic the threat is. That is the responsibility of the police to handle.

Abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult occurs when an individual threatens the safety of a vulnerable adult.

A vulnerable adult may have a disability or be elderly and bedridden. Any acts of neglect or of causing physical harm need to be reported. Many states have an elder abuse hotline for this purpose. They will follow up with an investigation.

Click to open interactivity Check your knowledge of each type of crisis.

Check your knowledge of each type of crisis.

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