Did you know that every ten seconds a report of child abuse is made? That means that within a year there will 3.6 million referrals made to child protection agencies across the world. With those numbers rising, April has been deemed as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The month is dedicated to spreading awareness the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse as well as promoting social and emotional well-being to both family and their children. Want to know how you can get involved in making a change to the lives of children and their families? Check out some ideas below.
- Educate yourself. Learn to recognize when a child may be being abused, whether it be physically or mentally. By the time they are 18, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys have been sexually abused. Learning strategies to minimize opportunity for abuse is crucial. Kids First Inc. has more information on how you can do this, as well as Prevent Child Abuse of Delaware County. Be sure to share this information with others. Talking about the issue and creating trust with children early can make a huge difference, speak openly with them and be sure to emphasize that abuse is never their fault.
- Meet and greet neighbors. Getting to know your neighbors and their children is a great way to try and minimize abuse where you live. By familiarizing yourself with the children living in your area, you can be a comfortable resource for them if the need for help arises. You have the capability to make your neighborhood what you want – choose to make it a safe environment for the children living in it. Adding a playground, organizing community events and workshops, or creating a parent support group are ways that you can take a lead in creating a family friendly space on a local level.
- Attend local meetings. Attend local city council, school board, and parent-teacher conference meetings. Be active in expressing that community support, strong schools, and accessible services are important in creating a safe environment not only for children but for the parents as well. Playing an active role in these will be impactful on your children and others in the community. Not a parent? Not a problem. Play a part by volunteering or financially supporting organizations that work to prevent or treat abuse.
- Make a plan. Lastly, have a plan ready if abuse does arise. Planning how to react, who to contact and how to help the situation will allow you to efficiently address the problem. By having a plan in place you will be able to react quickly while still making the child feel safe and calm when expressing their abuse.
Part of our mission here at the YWCA is to promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, including children. As long as there is a child in need, the mission of the YWCA will not be complete. Do your part to create a safe environment for nurturing children everywhere by actively working to end child abuse.
Chyanna Outlaw, Development and Marketing Intern