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Recognizing & Reporting Child Abuse
April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which serves to recognize the importance of communities working together to help prevent child maltreatment, and help them thrive.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 1 in 7 children in the US has experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, which can leave lasting trauma. Neglect is the most common form of child abuse … think leaving a young child at home alone for the day without the proper care or even food … think ignoring a child’s unique needs. Other types of child maltreatment include sexual, physical, and emotional or mental abuse. Many identify with the heartbreak that’s associated with young children growing up under such detrimental, uncomfortable, and foul conditions. While sadly child abuse is prevalent in our society, it is also preventable. Better yet, you can help!
Here are a few ways you can support those in need and put an end to child abuse.
- Spread The Word – Increase your own awareness, and share what you learn with others. While the topic of child abuse can be a painful and even taboo topic, it’s important to shed some light on the reality some little ones face. You tuning in, and spreading the word may help save a life.
- Use #ChildAbusePreventionMonth on social media to allow your posts to be seen with millions of others – sparking the conversation, and using the Internet to gain traction on the topic.
- Build Connections & Create Supportive Environments – Kids talk to the people they feel comfortable around. While they may fear retaliation from their abuser, they do want to feel better, and may open up under safe conditions. Another thing to be aware of is that some children may not recognize that their abuser’s behavior is inappropriate so they may have difficulty vocalizing it.
- The most valuable thing we can do is help prevent chaos, neglect, or any other form of abuse before a family is in crisis. We all can help play a role in the protection & facilitation of happy, healthy children. It takes a village and everyone in the community can do their part.
- Observe & Respond – If you witness signs of child abuse (such as withdrawal, bruising, aggression, anxiety, depression, frequent absences from school or other regular activities) report the behavior & what you’ve noticed. Even if you don’t know the whole story, if you have a feeling something is amiss, it’s better to try and seek help than to ignore the situation completely. Resources for crisis intervention, support, and more are below.
Thank you for your willingness to face the harsh realities of child abuse. Thank you for increasing your own awareness and compassion towards these situations. Thank you for doing your part to help protect our community’s kids.
Resources: For crisis intervention, information, referrals, and support, contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. For 24/7 crisis support at your fingertips, contact the Crisis Text Line by texting DS to 741741.