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Child abuse in regards to Dungeons and Dragons IRL, how should such things be handled.

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Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
A bit of levity in an otherwise serious discussion:
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I don't think this rises to the level of abuse. Parents are allowed to control what media and entertainment their kids can participate in. I think the threat to kick the 16 year old out is concerning, but it also could be nothing more than an empty threat. It is a little hard to tell from the OP if it was a serious threat or just something they say to keep the kids in line (or hyperbole----My dad used to say "I am going to kill you" but it was obvious to everyone listening there was no real lethal intent behind his words). I would advise the OP to not get involved.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
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I think the threat to kick the 16 year old out is concerning, but it also could be nothing more than an empty threat.

With respect, "empty threat" may indicate it isn't meaningful to adults with only casual connections.

But, even if they never do it, a parent, likely the person the child is closest to in all the world, telling them, "I WILL REJECT YOU!" is meaningful, even if not carried out. You don't have to lay a hand on, or take physical actions against, a kid, but can still emotionally abuse them with such things.

Again, one instance is not terribly meaningful, and is certainly not actionable. But "empty threat" does not mitigate it.
 

With respect, "empty threat" may indicate it isn't meaningful to adults with only casual connections.

But, even if they never do it, a parent, likely the person the child is closest to in all the world, telling them, "I WILL REJECT YOU!" is meaningful, even if not carried out. You don't have to lay a hand on, or take physical actions against, a kid, but can still emotionally abuse them with such things.

Again, one instance is not terribly meaningful, and is certainly not actionable. But "empty threat" does not mitigate it.

I am just saying people should be cautious assuming they know what it means and what their relationship with their kids are from this one account. I guess what I am saying is there are figures of speech parents use as threats that they don't really mean. I am not saying it will win they parent of the year. But I don't think it makes them child abusers. Like I said, my dad used to say "I am going to kill you", "I am going to ring your neck if you don't stop". I knew, and everyone in the room knew, there was no real intention behind the threats. It definitely wasn't emotional abuse. I think these days we are very literally minded. And I think that can create overreactions to things where we only see the text. Especially on the internet where all we have is text. But my point was, that is all we have in this case on this thread. We don't know the tone, the reaction of other people in the room except for the OP (and even if we get that, we just have the OP's point of view). I am not defending throwing kids out of the house at age 16. I am saying it could have just been words that had no real intention behind them. Which I think you might agree with without realizing it since even you say, it is difficult to extract meaning from one instance like this.
 



aramis erak

Legend
With respect, "empty threat" may indicate it isn't meaningful to adults with only casual connections.

But, even if they never do it, a parent, likely the person the child is closest to in all the world, telling them, "I WILL REJECT YOU!" is meaningful, even if not carried out. You don't have to lay a hand on, or take physical actions against, a kid, but can still emotionally abuse them with such things.

Again, one instance is not terribly meaningful, and is certainly not actionable. But "empty threat" does not mitigate it.
When I was working in education, my districts training pointed to that kind of statement as a mandatory report situation.

This is not abuse.

Being an ignorant [snip] is not a criminal act.
That varies widely by where one is.

Psychological/Emotional abuse of children is in fact a crime in some US states.

The guardian threatening to withhold legally mandated standards of accommodation, sustenance, and/or education is considered abuse according to the trainings I've had to take. And while I've never had to report that one, I have had to report parents for various other things.

for example,
Alaska Statutes 47.17.290 said:
(3) “child abuse or neglect” means the physical injury or neglect, mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18 by a person under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby; in this paragraph, “mental injury” means an injury to the emotional well-being, or intellectual or psychological capacity of a child, as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment in the child’s ability to function;
[Sec. 47.17.290. Definitions. – The Alaska Legal Resource Center]
And
Oregon Statutes 419B.005.1 said:
(F)Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including but not limited to the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care that is likely to endanger the health or welfare of the child.

(G)Threatened harm to a child, which means subjecting a child to a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare.
 

WayneLigon

Adventurer
Yeah, do not under any circumstances pull the 'abuse' trigger. Anything that involves minors also involves a whole lot of legal shenanigans that can blow back on you and your group for years to come ("Contributing to the delinquency of a minor" come to mind). Minors are, for better or worse, effectively pets in the US. Children have little to no rights, especially depending on the state and local judiciary. All it takes is one ambitious and heretofore thwarted would-be DA -- especially if their horrible little family drama turns unexpectedly violent or one of the kids runs away - and your life is over.

The major thing that took Satanic Panic nationwide was that many law enforcement bodies took the 'experts' peddling it seriously, and began to link 'satanic activity' to major crimes and conspiracies. Pat Pauling had a regular deal where she would speak to police in various cities about the 'D&D Menace'. She was not laughed out of the room. Doubly important to remember is the connection to pedophilia rings - the vast majority of major cases involving SP were all pedophilia linked and today all it takes is for that word to come up to make your life a living hell.

Just from what you've posted here, you don't really know these kids or their parents. There is every reason to believe the parents could be reasoned with, and have just been made scared for their kids by silly propaganda. OR they could be deeply crazy people who have no trouble throwing their tainted and damned kids out into the cold. It happens. You don't want to be the cause of that happening. Yes, the law says parents must provide a level of care until a kid is 18 years old. However, action on that is spotty, especially depending on the local law and what the parents say. The hundreds of thousands of homeless disowned kids suggest it is very spotty.

I never had to truly deal with this. I was already 17 when D&D came around, and was in college when the first national Satanic Panic silliness hit. I have had people in complete and total seriousness tell me how D&D lures kids in to murder, sex, and devil worship.

We had a couple people in our groups get their books and dice confiscated and destroyed - we chipped in, bought them second-hand replacements, and kept the books at various other houses. They were a lot more mobile than these kids seem to be and, of course, both were something like 17 already. It was a lot easier to move out at 18 back then, so they had little trouble afterwards.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Update:

TLDR: It turned out to be Child Abuse that was occurring. Also interviewed by Police and the end result is if you EVER even suspect that a child is being abused, YOU REPORT IT. It doesn't matter all the other things, end thing is YOU REPORT IT and if you do NOT you may actually be also able to be CHARGED WITH A CRIME.

So, I did not go to the police. However, as I stated or at least inferred, the language and statements they hurled towards us could be strongly construed as committing a crime in and of itself. It was VERY abusive towards us, much less their children.

So, one of the other players went home and told their parents who in turn called the police. They went in for a check (not sure on what happened exactly, as this was second hand from the player that reported it). They found out that the older kid actually WAS kicked out of the home by that point and then did a wellness check on the younger child. In essence, he was one BIG bruise underneath his clothes, he had been beaten black and blue.

My part comes in at which the police wanted to ask me some questions about what happened. They were surprised that NONE of the adults had reported anything. I don't think they are going to charge me, but they did inform me that in these situations when there are minors and we suspect something like this we are supposed to report things like this, and if we do not, in some cases we can be seen as accessories or other such things.

Anyways, the end game is that I should have reported it, not even asked for advice, simply reported the situation. I report it, I don't need to do anything else. The police at that point can determine the right course of action, whether it is a false alarm, or something to be concerned about.

In this instance, where there was smoke, there really was fire and I actually feel pretty bad for not acting on my initial instinct.

Also, a thought on property now that this has happened, when parents take something from a child, if it is NOT something they themselves have bought, and do it for no good reason, it could fall under the term of abuse. If nothing else, emotional abuse.

With the advise given in this thread which now goes counter to what the cops told me, I wonder how many who had their parents treat them so actually had a form of abuse on them, but as we love our parents and try to frame them in the best light, try to ignore or excuse it rather than seeing it as abuse.

These players NEVER raised any thing against their parents or gave us really that many indications of what was going on prior to the game session which this all went down. Later, (and I haven't seen them since, just the second hand account from the other player of ours and the police questioning of me) we saw this one thing, and though I felt I should take some sort of action, interestingly no one said anything.

What this does tell me is that this was pretty serious, and the ability for us to write it off may show how things in our own lives have dulled our sense of what is abuse or not or the actions we should take. Or maybe it is because sometimes we feel the best action is to NOT get involved.

Anyways, as there were multiple adults there and around the area, I don't think (or at least hope) that any of us are going to be charged as accessories or simply going along with a crime that occurred in front of us. Still rather shaken to a little degree by all of it. However, I've learned my lesson on the correct action I should have done, which was report it and leave the rest up to those who handle these things and have a lot more experience with them on what to do next.
 


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