Child Abuse Prevention Month
April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month. With an estimated 906,000 children being abused and neglected every year, Kidzworld thinks it's time for you to get the facts about child abuse.
What Is It?
Child abuse is the failure to meet the basic needs of children including housing, clothing, food and access to medical care. It can happen to anyone of any age, gender or race. Child abuse comes in many forms, including the following:
- Physical Abuse - Any non-accidental injury to a child, such as hitting, slapping, shaking, or choking.
- Emotional Abuse - Any behavior that interferes with a child's mental health or social development, such as yelling, screaming, name-calling, making negative comments, or ignoring.
- Sexual Abuse - Any sexual act between an adult and a child.
- Neglect - Failure to provide a child's physical needs, such as lack of supervision, inadequate food, clothing, or housing, and abandonment.
What Are the Causes?
There are many causes of child abuse, but common factors are mental illness, or extreme stress due to poverty, divorce, or sickness. As well, studies show that many child abusers were also victims of abuse.
What Are the Signs?
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, welts, burns, or bite marks on the body
- Hostility or stress
- Excessive aggression
- Fear of adults
- Eating disorders
- Anti-social behavior
Where Can I Get Help?
If you or someone you know is a victim of child abuse, make an appointment right away to talk to your school counselor, nurse, or teacher. You can also call an anonymous child abuse hotline such as 1-800-4-A-CHILD. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As well, the hotline counselors work with translators who speak 140 languages to help callers who speak a language other than English. You also need to report the abuse to the authorities because your life is in danger. As tough as it may be, you need to call the police and/or your local Child Protective Services agency, which you can find listed in your phone book under "Children" or "Health" or "Human Services." Once you contact the authorities, a social worker will investigate your situation and help you by putting you in a safe environment free from abuse and neglect.
Did You Know?
- Children ages zero to three are the most likely to experience abuse.
- Four children in the US die every day from abuse and neglect. Three out of four of these victims are under the age of four.
- Three million reports of child abuse are made every year in the US, but experts estimate that the actual number of incidents is three times greater.
- A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds.
- One third of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children.