April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

| April 5, 2016 | Comments (0)

April: Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child abuse is a serious issue whether it’s in the home, at daycare, at school, or ANYWHERE. It’s important to raise awareness about child abuse so that the issue is given the attention it so desperately needs.

During 2014 alone, reports showed that approximately 646,261 children were abused or neglected and 1,580 deaths occurred because of child abuse or neglect in the United States. Most of these cases were the result of circumstances that could have been prevented if there were community programs and systems in place.

One of the goals of National Child Abuse Prevention Month is to encourage the entire public to acknowledge how important it is when families and communities work together in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect as well as the promotion of the social and emotional health of all families and children. During the month of April (and throughout the entire year) we encourage you to take an active role in spreading awareness about child abuse prevention.

The Problem of Child Abuse

Child abuse rarely occurs as a single incident, but rather occurs on a regular basis with certain individuals. The violence often increases over time, and is not confined to the areas of religious beliefs, income, race, or ethnic origin. Quite frequently the child abuser is someone close to the child such as a caregiver, parent, or step-parent. Children who are abused fear the possibility of physical harm from those who are in charge of taking care of them and protecting them.

According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, social services agencies received approximately 3.3 million referrals of child abuse or neglect in 2005, of which 899,000 children were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect according to information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This means that approximately twelve out of every 1,000 children under the age of 18 were discovered to be victims of abuse or neglect in 2005. Since 1999, most children who have been confirmed as victims of maltreatment were related to neglect. The following shows the percentages of maltreatment in 2005:

Type of Abuse Percentage
Neglect 62.8%
Physical abuse 16.6%
Sexual abuse 9.3%
Emotional/ psychological abuse 7.1%
Medical neglect 2.0%
Other 14.3%

Within the “Other” category are acts such as threats of harm, congenital drug addiction, abandonment, and other situations which are not identified in the specific categories. The reasons these statistics add up to more than 100 percent is because some children suffered from more than one type of mistreatment.

The demographics of child abuse victims include the following:

Demographics Percentage
Male 47.3%
Female 50.7%
White 49.7%
African American 23.1%
Hispanic/American Indians/Alaskans 1.2%
Asian-Pacific Islanders <1.0%

The highest number of victims is among children from birth to three years of age. In addition, those children who are disabled or suffer from a neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy are abused or neglected twice as much as average children.  The number of cases has escalated from 829,000 in 1999 to 899,000 in 2005 with a peak of 906,000 in 2003. Approximately 1,460 children died in 2005 due to abuse or neglect with almost 76.6 percent of those children under three years old.

Daycare Abuse

While daycare facilities are often very safe places, we’ve all seen the news stories about nightmarish cases of daycare abuse. There are far too many cases where daycare providers are actually the ones who abuse or neglect the children left in their care. Parents need to be aware of the signs of child abuse and neglect, and be willing to report any suspicions to the proper authorities. Just because a provider is licensed does not always mean the children in their care are safe from potential abusers.

The Importance of Child Abuse Awareness

Child Abuse Prevention Month 2016
The best way to prevent child abuse in the future is to raise awareness within the public now. This means not just being aware of the warning signs, but also being willing to share the information with as many people as possible. We urge you to share this information on social media and anywhere else you see fit. The more people who take the time to share the problem of abuse, both at home and in daycare settings, the better the chances are that we can put an end to this escalating problem.

While April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, let’s not forget that countless children are suffering every day. If starting a conversation can help just one child, it’s more than worth it.


Category: In The News

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