As you are reading this, some child somewhere is being abused. Child abuse comes in both physical and verbal forms, often sexual abuse as well. Child abuse can come from birth parents, adoptive parents and even orphanage workers. Often times, child abuse will continue for years before it is found out, if it ever is. This is because many children grow up in homes which are neglected by the public eye.
The month of April is mostly known for being Autism Awareness Month, but it is also Child Abuse Prevention Month. The issue of child abuse is a little bit more difficult to get involved in than autism awareness, as it is such a sensitive field of work, but everyone can do something about it just by making their homes and communities safer places for children to grow up in.
Simple Child Abuse Prevention Tactics
It seems like the more time flies and technology grows, the less we know our neighbors. That’s probably because it’s true. Getting to know your neighbors can result in lifelong friendships if you allow it to. The people in my old neighborhood always called our street “Maple Street,” like from the Andy Griffith Show because we were all so close-knit. More importantly, though, it could save the life of a child. As a neighbor, there is a good chance you could be the first to notice signs of child abuse.
Be involved in the community you build:
So, you baked a cake for new family in the neighborhood. That’s a great start. Now, you have someone to help pick the kids up from school or to sign for that package you missed while you were at work. Many parents like to set up times to hang out with other parents while their kids get rid of some of that seemingly endless energy. Why not keep it close to home? Get to know your neighbor’s neighbors and consider inviting some of the older people in town to chat about life while the kids play. They’ll be a good reference for later when you need a babysitter, and will be an extra pair of eyes to make sure that all of the neighborhood kids are taken care of.
Donate time or money:
If you would like to get more deeply involved in child abuse prevention through volunteer work or financial donations, here are a few child advocacy organizations:
Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
CASA for Children (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund)
You can also search for local child abuse prevention organizations.
Image by Springfield News-Sun. “Psychological abuse of kids is common.” July 31, 2012. Online image. April 9, 2012.