According to the World Health organization, globally, it is estimated that up to 1 billion children ages 2 to 17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month we recognize the importance of families and communities working together to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect. In order to do this, we need to strengthen families and provide prevention services to foster healthy child development and positive life experiences.
Recognizing Signs Child Abuse
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they state that “child abuse and neglect can have long-term impacts on health, opportunity, and wellbeing. This issue includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caregiver, or another person in a custodial role that results in harm, the potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. There are four common types of abuse and neglect: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.”
Often child abuse happens behind closed doors. It isn’t always obvious, and the deepest scars are often left by emotional abuse and neglect which can be hard to recognize. Gabriel Fernandez, Anthony Avalos, and Noah Cuatro are just a few of the many names you may have heard over the last decade of children who have suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them the most.
Although this topic is difficult, it is important to be aware of the signs of child abuse so that we are able to work together to prevent it:
- – Recurrent physical injuries including unexplained cuts and bruises.
- – A child feeling afraid to go home can be an indicator of family violence.
- – Often feels fearful or anxious about doing something wrong.
- – Withdrawn from peers and adults.
- – Child has poor hygiene.
- – Child is frequently late or missing from school.
How to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse and neglect can be prevented. There is no single cause of neglect. Instead, there are a number of contributors, including child, caregiver and community factors that can increase the likelihood of a child experiencing neglect or violence, which is why it is important to be aware of characteristics that may or may not be a direct cause. Some of these risk factors include:
- – Individual risk factors: children with special needs including mental health issues, or disabilities, etc.
- – Family risk factors: families experiencing other types of violence in their lives including relationship violence.
- – Community risk factors including communities with easy access to drugs and alcohol.
Although this can be an overwhelming subject to discuss, being aware of risk indicators and showing support towards children in need can go a long way. Be as comforting as you can. Show the child that they can confide in you about the abuse or neglect they may be experiencing, and always reassure them that they are not at fault for the abuse they have endured.
If you suspect that the safety of a child may be at risk, these are some professionals you can contact:
- – Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: This 24/7 hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergencies, social service, and support resources.
- – CyberTipline: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provides information on how to report online sexual abuse.
As a member of WeProtect, Project Arachnid and the Internet Watch Foundation, Netsweeper is committed to support the mission to eliminate child sexual abuse imagery online. Our industry-leading student safety and web filtering solutions have empowered thousands of students worldwide and continues to make the digital world a safe space for all children.