As parents, our natural tendency is to love and protect our children. However, not all parents are this way. Unfortunately, thousands of children suffer abuse and neglect each year. And we are limited on what we can do to prevent these heinous acts. To heighten awareness and strengthen families, Hospitality Health ER is observing Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. Here are a few things we can learn to bring this serious issue to the forefront.
What is Considered Child Abuse?
A child is considered abused if a parent or caregiver injures the child through their direct actions, or if they didn’t do anything to stop the abuse. Abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or involve neglect. Any type of abuse is detrimental to the child’s development and how they see the world. For instance, children who have been abused have a higher rate of drug use, running away, joining gangs, committing suicide, or being murdered. Therefore, it’s important that we protect children from abuse and neglect..
What Can We Do to Fight Child Abuse?
Providing public awareness about child abuse and how it affects our society is one of the first steps in helping to eliminate the issue. What can you do on an individual level? First, pay attention to your child(ren)’s behavior, as well as other kids. Are they withdrawing from friends? Is the child angry, hostile, aggressive, depressed or anxious? Does the child seem to want to spend more time at your house than theirs? Do you see any physical signs of abuse like bruises and bumps? Something could be wrong if you notice any of these signs.
If you believe the child is in danger, then offer a safe place for the child to turn to. Should the child refuse help, you can report it to your local child protective services or child welfare organizations. You can also call your state’s child abuse reporting hotline or call or text the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-422-4453. For immediate help, call 911.
In many cities, pinwheel gardens are planted around agencies that work to offer a safe place to children and are in the forefront of providing prevention and awareness of child abuse. Besides watching out for signs of child abuse in your community, you can donate or volunteer at an agency. It takes all of us to work in tandem to keep all children safe.