Did you know that…
….In the United States, more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are under the age of 3.
….2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported in the US every year.
….As many as 2/3 of the people in treatment for drug abuse were abused as children
….Children who experience child abuse and neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity
….child abuse crosses ALL socioeconomic and educational levels, religions, ethnicities and cultural groups.
These facts are staggering. They are horrible, and we cannot make the choice to look away. This is our country, and these are our children. These children are our future.
How to Recognize that a Child is Being Abused:
- First and foremost, do NOT assume that child abuse cannot happen in a middle/upper class home. Child abuse can happen anywhere.
- The child may show a sudden change in behavior
- The child is always watchful, as if waiting for something bad to happen
- The child often lacks adult supervision
- The child appears hesitant to go home
- The child explains bruises or injuries with very unlikely scenarios
How YOU can Prevent Child Abuse:
- Don’t be afraid to gently talk to the child- ask open-ended questions that allow the child to lead the conversation, instead of “questioning” the child. Ei- “How did you get that bruise?” instead of “did someone hit you and give you that bruise?”
- If you are still concerned, talk to a school counselor or a neutral third party (your pastor, NOT your 6 best friends in a group text)
- The next step is to report it. Immediately call 1-800-4-A-Child. It’s such a tough call to make, but in cases of suspected child abuse, I highly recommend erring on the side of caution and action, rather than “letting is blow over”. If you call the hotline, they can walk you through the next steps and will get in touch with caseworkers who can open an investigation. Although they are not perfect, most caseworkers are trained to carry out these investigations and if nothing is wrong, they will soon discover that nothing is wrong. But if something is wrong, they will be able to take the necessary steps to protect the child.
- Please be aware that child abuse can happen even among your very close friends. Please be a friend to your friends and be willing to do hard things. Sometimes our dear friends are going through depression, anxiety, postpartum junk, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Sometimes even those we are closest to can fall on hard times in their lives and begin acting out against their own precious children. If you suspect that a friend of yours is going off the deep end, PLEASE step in. Confront them, provide them with information about counseling, seeing a doctor or medication. Help them with coping skills. And if need be, step in and help those children out. Remember that Children’s Services does not exist to wreak havoc on a family by ripping them apart, but instead it exists to help and protect a child, and provide resources for the parent to be able to parent properly. As I mentioned above, child abuse does not just happen in poor, inner city, black neighborhoods. It might be happening right next door and it might be happening to someone you know and love dearly. Don’t turn a blind eye. Be aware.
- Remember that child abuse is not just physical or sexual. It is also neglect. In fact, 74% of reported child abuse cases are cases of neglect.
We will wear blue. We will play with our pinwheels. We will educate on child abuse. We will raise awareness. We stand against child abuse. We stand to prevent child abuse. We will not look away. We will not give up. We will fight for childhood. We will provide support and love to both the child and the parent. We will work to restore families and heal from the abuses of the past. We will protect children who have been hurt and will advocate for justice where it is needed.