Generally, people are reluctant to admit that child abuse happens around them. But it does happen and it is important to acknowledge that. All of us have moral a responsibility to identify and prevent any form of child abuse and protect children, who are vulnerable and least likely to be able to protect themselves from abuse.
According to childhelp.org, in the United States, a child abuse case is reported every 10 seconds.The impact is enormous keeping in mind the financial, social, and health consequences that affect us all.
Child abuse can take many forms:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
Abuse can be defined as the willful action of a caregiver that results in a non-accidental injury to a child. Neglect, on the other hand, is the failure to provide proper care, supervision and cater to the basic needs of a child through the inaction, poor habits, or faults of the caregiver.
Whatever may be the form child abuse, the damage can be devastating. Child abuse can derail a child’s development and affect all parts of their lives. As a child becomes an adult, they may struggle with important things such as relationship, jobs, or mental health and this causes a ripple effect through the society.
Our surroundings shape our behavior. When parents are overloaded with problems involving, money, alcohol or drug addiction, or mental illness, it can be difficult for them to give their child the support and nurturing they deserve.
Those stresses can also lead to a child being abused or neglected, which is never acceptable. But by providing the parents with the right help at the right time, we can help a family cope and give the children a more stable and safe environment to live in.
Child abuse is preventable
So, the good news is that we know that we can prevent child abuse. We have the knowledge to tell a different story for abused children across the nation and it starts by first addressing the following questions:
- What if every child had at least one adult in his or her life with the skills to prevent child abuse from happening?
- What if just one adult in every child’s life knew how to talk a child about physical safety, or knew how to talk to a child about what to do if they feel unsafe?
- What if just one adult in every child’s life knew what to do if they saw something they were uncomfortable with, or if they suspect the worst, knew how to file a report?
- What if there was extra help from neighbors, extra support at school, better foster care and more counseling available?
By addressing these questions with honesty and determination to prevent child abuse, we can make a difference and create a world in which every single child is protected from child abuse. There would then be millions of happier and safer children.
For more detailed information on how you can help to protect children in your community from abuse, contact a state or local child welfare agency in your area. We all need to do our bit. It’s never too late to make a difference in a child’s life.