Preventing Child Abuse

Throughout the United States, a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.

Many times, physical abuse is a result of excessive discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate for the child’s age, often when a parent loses control. Child abuse and neglect is 100 percent preventable; we all share in the responsibility to help keep kids safe.

Here are five steps you can take:

  • If you work with children in any capacity, obtain Mandated Child Abuse Reporting training to learn about the risk factors and warning signs of child abuse (check with the Child Abuse Prevention Council in your area for training opportunities).
  • Report child abuse and neglect when you become aware of it or suspect it.
  • Get involved! Volunteer your time at community agencies that promote positive supportive services for families (libraries, community resource centers, nonprofit agencies that work with families and children).
  • Conduct outreach activities in the community to raise awareness about support agencies for families.
  • Ensure families are equipped with the resources, support and tools necessary to be successful parents and caregivers within their community.

Consider  Sacramento County in California.  Child Protective Services there receives 4,300 calls in any given month and handles more than 16,000 allegations of child abuse and neglect each year. Over the last 20 years in Sacramento County, the majority of child abuse-and-neglect homicide deaths occurred in children four years of age and younger. There were 158 child abuse and neglect homicide deaths in that span of time in Sacramento County alone.

National research suggests that one in four girls and one in six boys are subjected to some form of sexual abuse by 18 years of age. Almost five children die in the United States every day as a result of child abuse in the home. More than three out of four are under the age of four years old. More than 30 percent of sexually abused child victims never disclose the experience to others, and 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way.

Abuse is seldom a one-time incident. Once a child is abused, incidents are often repeated over periods of months and years, especially if the offender is known to the child or other family members. Shockingly, 81 percent of victims were abused or maltreated by a biological parent, and 57 percent of children will be victims of some form of physical abuse during their lifetime.

Please help us prevent child abuse. A donation can fund programs that directly impact the lives of children and perhaps save a precious life. Speak up for the life of a child.