We see and hear about violence and acts of violence every day. Some of these events have become so common that we no longer notice them, or are desensitized to their impact. Occasionally, an act of violence grabs our attention, and moves us to want to do something to change the situation. You have probably asked yourself, “When should someone step in to protect a child from violence from a parent or caregiver?” What is your role and when are you overstepping your bounds?
In many situations, a child may be unable or unwilling to report their own abuse or neglect. Therefore, it is important that the network of adults in a child’s life are vigilant advocates, giving abused children a voice. A child may not report abuse because they cannot talk, do not understand what is happening, are afraid, or have no one to talk to.
Each day more than three children die as a result of abuse or neglect in the home. On average, a child abuse report is made every ten seconds—a total of approximately three million child abuse reports annually.
The following child abuse prevention guidelines were developed to help keep your child, or a child you care for, from becoming a statistic
You can help drop the number of child deaths to ZERO by doing your part to prevent child abuse from occurring in the first place
1) EDUCATE THE CHILDREN!!! Encourage your children to speak up and seek help!!! Talk to your children and encourage them to tell you about anything that happens to them. Tell them about good touching and bad touching. Encourage them to tell someone if something doesn't feel right. Suggest other people they can talk to if something is wrong. Make sure they learn their telephone number and know how to call home or their parents' place of work
2) Be a nurturing parent. Being a nurturing parent involves meeting basic physical needs as well as consistently seeking to meet your children’s emotional needs. Each child is different, as is each parent, so a nurturing relationship can take many forms.
3) Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Everyone sometimes feels stressed, overworked and out of patience, but these kinds of emotions, if left unabated, can lead to regrettable parenting decisions. If you notice that a parent (especially young and new parents) you know seems to be having a rough time, that’s a great cue that they may need a little break. Even small gestures can mean a lot and relieve a stressful parent. Remember, just because a parent is stressed, doesn’t mean that they are abusing or neglecting their children. But a little help from a trusted friend may do a lot to help them be the parent they want to be.
4) Help yourself and de-stress when necessary. If you find yourself being the one who is stressed out, then maybe it’s time to let a trusted friend or family member in to help on occasion. Here are some ideas for coping with the stress of raising children. Sometimes a few good nights’ sleep away for the weekend is all it takes.
5) When your baby cries, be patient. When a baby won’t stop crying, it can be frustrating, heartbreaking and even defeating. If you have a baby who is prone to long bouts of crying, take a look at these tips for calming an infant. Never shake a baby. Shaking a baby can result in severe injury and even death.
6) Get involved. Tell other people about child abuse resources in your community and services. Share resources like this website and DON'T SHY AWAY FROM SPEAKING OUT AGAINST CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
7) Monitor your child’s media intake.
This includes things like television, YouTube videos, movies, social media activity, and even texting. Watching violent films and television shows can be harmful to a young child’s development and can be desensitizing to older children and teens. For tips on how to decide what your children are allowed to watch, visit www.CommonSenseMedia.org, and for ideas to set internet safety rules and boundaries, click here.
8) Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program
Another way to get involved in the fight against child abuse is to volunteer your time. Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), volunteer with Hannahstrong, foster care centers, child crisis nurseries, parenting support groups.
Find local organizations that raise funds and awareness for child abuse prevention. Without tireless volunteers, organizations like Project C.H.A.N.C.E. and thousands of others would not be able to do what they do.
9) Raise Awareness!! Tell your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers. Share the importance of intervening and getting involved!! Child abuse is a taboo subject – no one wants to hear about it, see it or think about it. If it’s not affecting them, then it’s not their problem. WRONG!!! Child abuse is everyone’s problem!!! See our Awareness page to read how you can raise awareness in your community.
10) Last, but certainly not least, if you suspect abuse, report it. IF A CHLID IS BEING ABUSED, DON'T STAY SILENT!. ANYONE CAN CALL THE NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-800-4-A-CHILD 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK AT NO COST, ANONYMOUSLY. Certified counselors are there to assist callers with deciding what the next step to take is