It is our duty as educators to inform our staff and parents on child abuse awareness and prevention. However it is EVERYONE’S duty to be aware of signs and symptoms of child abuse, the proper way to report such incidents, and how to practice safe interactions with children. April is nationally recognized as Child Abuse Awareness Month. The Blue Ribbon Campaign is a community wide effort to recognize our collective responsibility to prevent and confront all forms of child abuse and neglect.
Although this topic is very sensitive, it needs to be treated with the seriousness it deserves. In some cases, adults may not know they are harming a child, or they don’t know the signs that a child shows when they’ve been physically, sexually or emotionally abused.
Every year, more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. Even 1 is too many. The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations, losing on average between 4 and 7 children every day to child abuse and neglect.
There are several different forms of abuse; it’s important to recognize the results of each type. Child abuse is more commonly defined as the act of commission or omission that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health and development. These are only a few:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Psychological Maltreatment
- Medical Neglect
Although there is no excuse for child abuse, there are several factors that influence it, including, but not limited to, history of maltreatment, substance abuse, age, environmental factors (poverty, unemployment), parent/care giver factors, family structure, marital conflict, domestic violence, and stress. The best thing we can do is 1) recognize and report child abuse, and 2) make sure that we educate others on how to prevent child abuse:
- Never discipline a child when you’re angry
- Get to know your child’s friends
- Be aware of changes in child’s behavior
- Be alert for any talk that reveals premature sexual understanding
- Teach the child correct names for body parts
There are so many local campaigns and events that you can attend to be a part of the movement:
Child Abuse Prevention Coalition Annual Awareness Event
Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Events
Crimes Against Children Conference
Texas DFPS News Release: April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
We have to be the voice for these children who cannot otherwise speak for themselves. Recognize, report, support and educate others on child abuse preventative methods.