Friends of Norfolk child killed question if they missed abuse warning signs

Posted at 1:52 PM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 13:53:07-04

NORFOLK, Va. -  Neighbors and caretakers who knew the two-year-old girl killed at her Ocean View home this week are second guessing themselves, wondering if they missed the warning signs of abuse.

"I didn’t quite know what to do and I think hindsight of course thinking back I should have done something," said Vanity Hurt, a neighbor who heard the toddler screaming and crying last week. "It’s troubling because when with the state of the world that were in, you just never know."

Advocates for preventing child abuse say these questions are normal after the tragic death of a child.

"This is something that the public grapples with in this country all the time. 'Should I get involved? If so, what should I do?'" said Johanna Schuchert, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia.

Schuchert says if these questions cross your mind, the best thing to do is act.

"Our phrase is, 'If you see something, say something,'" she explained.

The easiest step to take is to call the Child Abuse Hotline. The number is 800-552-7096.

Schuchert says the hotline is a vital tool to help those who see something concerning.

"They can call and say, 'This is what I am seeing, this I what I am observing, is this something that is reportable?'"

According to Schuchert, reports can be made anonymously so if what a caller sees is just a misunderstanding, there will be no consequences.

If the incident turns out to be abuse, the simple call could become a life-saving action.

To learn more about reporting child abuse, visit Prevent Child Abuse Virginia's website. Hampton Roads cities also have resources for reporting child abuse; visit your city's website for more information.

Click here for full coverage on the death of Harley Rae Williams