Child Abuse Prevention Month – Raising Awareness

child abuse prevention month statisticsSince 1983, April has been designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month with the intention of raising public awareness of the associated risk factors and signs of child abuse along with the type of available resources to help families in need. In 2014 alone, more than 600,000 cases of child abuse were validated by Child Protective Services (CPS) and 1,580 childhood deaths were directly related to abuse or neglect. Victims of child abuse are at an increased risk of serious long-term consequences and sadly, parents going through a divorce are more likely to abuse or neglect their children due to stressful circumstances, sometimes leading to unhealthy child-rearing behaviors. There are resources available to help couples with children move through difficult times, so reaching out is the best thing to do when life becomes challenging.

A Significant Issue in the United States

Child abuse and neglect cases are far more common than most of us realize. More than three million instances of abuse are investigated by CPS each year and more than half a million of those investigations result in the substantiation of the reported abuse or neglect. Surprisingly, the U.S. ranks poorly among other first world nations with regard to the number of children who die from child abuse every year. When broken down on a daily basis, more than five children, most of whom are under the tender age of two, die from the hands of one of their parents or from another caregiver. Numerous factors place children at an increased risk of abuse or neglect, including:

  • Parents who have been victims of abuse themselves
  • Parents suffering from an addiction, and/or
  • Parents going through a period of extreme stress

Abuse Victims Suffer Long-Term Consequences

People who were abused as children are far more likely to suffer from a host of long-term physical and emotional consequences, including an increased risk of heart, lung, and liver diseases, drug and/or alcohol addictions, depression, unplanned pregnancies, and beyond. Older children who were abused earlier in life are nine times as likely to commit an illegal act when compared to those who have not experienced abuse, and the percentage of prison inmates who have been neglected or abused is twice the number seen in the remainder of the population.

Resources are Available to Help Families in Need

When life circumstances create challenges, many people have a tendency to suffer in silence due to a sense of shame, inadequacy, fear and/or another negative emotion. Sadly, the failure to reach out for help before the situation devolves into a crisis is what often leads to abuse or neglect of one’s beloved children. If you know someone who is going through a divorce or another stressful situation, encouraging them to seek support through community involvement and/or a government-funded assistance program may help protect any children involved. Contact your local Department of Health and Human Services to discover which resources are available in your area.

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Sonia M.
I did my own divorce last year by using a do-it-yourself divorce service. It was the biggest mistake I made. I thought I was saving money but in the end it cost a lot more: less custody of my child and no support. I contacted Ms. Sahnan and she fought for more time with my son and got my car back. Thank you!!

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