Next time, call Child and Fam­ily Ser­vices

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - ARTS & LIFE -

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) 9444200 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.

MAUREEN SCURFIELD MISS LONELYHEARTS

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