Saturday, April 21, 2012

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month!

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we can each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of our children and the kids in our communities.

Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role (e.g., clergy, coach, teacher). There are four common types of abuse:
  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect
In 2010, U.S. state and local child protective services (CPS) received 3.6 million reports of children being abused or neglected. Children who experience abuse and neglect are at risk for emotional and physical health problems for the rest of their lives.

Listed below are things you can do to help prevent child abuse (from Darkness to Light website - http://www.d2l.org/site/):
  1. Learn the facts about child abuse and understand the risks.
    1. Read a book, attend a class, or look online to see how many children are affected by the different types of child maltreatment.
    2. Abusers are often people the family trusts; they look and act just like everyone else.
  2. Minimize the opportunities for abuse to occur.
    1. Avoid situations where a child is alone with an adult – and avoid one-adult/one-child situations with children other than your own.
    2. Monitor the Internet use of children so that they aren’t lured into inappropriate activities.
  3. Talk about abuse
    1. Talk openly to your child and understand why children may be scared to tell someone about abuse.
    2. Talk to other adults about child abuse. This helps raise the consciousness of your community and influences their choices about child safety, while also putting potential abusers on notice that you are paying attention.
  4. Stay alert to the signs of abuse.
    1. Read a book, attend a class, or look online to determine the signs (physical and emotional/behavioral) of the different types of child maltreatment, while also understanding that some children may not display any signs
  5. Know what to do if you suspect the abuse or neglect of a child.
    1. Your reaction to suspected child maltreatment can determine how the child responds so it’s important not to overreact.
    2. Provide support to the child.
    3. Report suspected child maltreatment to appropriate authorities, either by calling the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD or by calling local child protective services or law enforcement agencies in your community.
  6. Act on suspicions.
    1. Even if you don’t have proof but you suspect abuse has occurred/is occurring, you should report it. If you want to talk to staff about whether or not to report, you can call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD.
  7. Get involved in your communities.
    1. Meet and greet your neighbors and organize/participate in activities in your neighborhood
    2. Go to a parents’ meeting or volunteer at your child’s school or run for an office in the parent organization at your child’s school
    3. Participate in an activity at your local library or community center
    4. Attend local government meetings (city council or school board meetings) and let them know how important resources are in your community. Let them know how parks, strong schools, and accessible services help to strengthen your family and other families
    5. Support legislation that protects children.
    6. Call and write your members of Congress.
    7. Write letters to your newspaper.
Parents may feel they can’t prevent child abuse unless they personally see it happening to a child, or are involved in a field of work that helps children who have experienced abuse or neglect. But that’s not true! We all have a role to play and the role of parents is a crucial one. It’s critical that adults take responsibility for keeping children safe if child abuse is truly going to be prevented. This will require that each of us understands our role in protecting children and preventing child abuse. . CDC’s approach to preventing child maltreatment is promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships between children and their parents or caregivers. One way you can help ensure all children have safe, stable, and nurturing relationships is by supporting parents in your community.

Bullying is another way that children are abused. There is evidence that children with histories of abuse and neglect are more likely to engage in bullying behavior and are at a higher risk for being bullied by their peers than children who aren’t maltreated. (Shields & Cicchetti, 2001)  Check out our resource on how parents can stop bullying and violence against children in the classroom.
**TAKING FROM SOCIALMOMS.COM**

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