Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Next time, call Child and Family Services

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: An incident I witnessed has left me wondering -- should I have done something? My wife and I were having brunch at a local upscale hotel. We could see the front desk from where we sat and saw a family of four checking in -- dad at the desk and mom tending the kids. A motion caught my attention. It was mom reaching over the baby stroller and grabbing the little girl by one arm and lifting her up and dragging her over the luggage that stood between her and the little girl. The little girl's knee hits the baby carriage and the woman with a mean look on her face strides off out of sight with the little girl dangling by one arm and crying. The crying of the girl catches dad's attention, and he looks with some surprise in the direction mom and daughter have disappeared. None of the people milling around the lobby pay any attention, other than to quickly look away. Some time passes and when I look again, I see that dad is holding the little girl in his arms and rubbing her knee. I was left wondering, should I have done something? Surely no small child should be picked up and dragged over luggage and a baby carriage by one arm. Thoughts were, should I have called the police? Too drastic? Perhaps went over and said something, quietly to the parents, "Excuse me, but if I see you dragging that little girl around by one arm again" I'll be forced to call the police? In the end I did nothing, and am a bit haunted by that. -- Left Thinking, Winnipeg

Dear Thinking: I would have gone to the father and told him what his wife had done and told him clearly it was abusive. If you went straight to the mother, the fear would be she'd beat the child up in the room for causing her trouble and embarrassment. If anyone has concern a child is being abused in Winnipeg, they can call Child and Family's "anchor line" at (204) 944-4200 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. and 944-4050 in the evening. For rural folks, the person who answers has numbers for seven other districts. C.F.S. can send a car out and they have the authority to demand a room number from a hotel in order to locate a child.

lovecoach@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 25, 2012 D4

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