Recognizing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of protecting children from abuse and neglect. It is also a time to join together to promote the safety and well-being of all children and families and to recognize the child-welfare professionals and allies who work tirelessly to protect children.
Child abuse and neglect are serious public health issues that affect millions of children each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States. This is likely an underestimate because many cases are unreported. This abuse can have lasting impacts on a young person’s health, opportunity, and physical and emotional well-being.
At the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), we hear from young people who are being abused, neglected and mistreated. Too often they feel unsafe in their own homes, have trouble focusing at school, struggle to forming trusting relationships and consider running away. We are here to listen and to help.
Child abuse can take many forms, such as physical and sexual abuse to emotional abuse and emotional neglect. The most common type of maltreatment is neglect. Child abuse and neglect are preventable; however we must first understand the factors that put people at risk for these types of abuse.
Preventing child abuse recquires a multifaceted approach. Prevention factors are conditions or attributes that when presented in families and communities, can decrease the likelihood of maltreatment and increase the well-being of both children and their families. It is important to identify the protective factors that can help parents find readily available resources and strategies that can allow them to parent in an effective and safe way.
It is crucial that during the month of April and always, young people who have endured abuse and neglect understand they are not alone. At the National Runaway Safeline, we see these young people, strive to support them through their pain and applaud them for their strength.
If you see something, say something. If you suspect or know that a young person is a being abused or neglected, take action and contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency.
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, NRS has been sharing resources and educating our community and followers about this serious problem. We encourage people to get involved with child-welfare organizations where they can make a difference in the lives of young people and families. It can be as simple as spreading awareness on your own platform. Childwelfare.gov has created a toolkit of resources, graphics, and social media posts that make it easy for anyone to educate themselves and spread their message.