The epidemic of child abuse
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Buckner wants to assure every child lives in a safe and nurturing home. You can also play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect by being aware of the signs and advocating for children.
Children are one of the world’s most vulnerable populations. As Christians, the bible calls us to be a voice for the voiceless. To protect those who cannot protect themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9).
The COVID-19 pandemic and child abuse
When the pandemic hit the U.S. in the spring of 2020, families were told to shelter in place and stay home, eliminating traffic to places we visited every day like schools and daycares. For some, this was a welcome change and break from normal routines. But for some children, this news meant they would no longer be seen by the people who are most likely to report abuse and neglect: teachers and childcare workers. This terrifying reality was followed by not just weeks, but months of state-wide lockdowns. For many children, staying home was not a safe place to be.
The epidemic of child abuse
Make no mistake, child abuse crosses all boundaries, including race, religion and economic status. No one person or group is exempt from this tragedy. Abuse is most often committed by someone the child loves and trusts the most. Close to 90% of the cases reported to the Texas Department of Family Protective Services are from the family members where the children live. That’s why it’s important for all of us to know the warning signs, especially now that some children are not frequently around those who would normally report abuse or neglect.
The 4 types of child abuse and basic warning signs:
- Neglect: Failure to provide the child’s basic needs. Examples and signs: Drugs or drug abuse in the home, inadequate supervision, poor health or personal hygiene, failure to accept parental responsibility for the child and abandonment.
- Physical: Infliction of physical injury to a child. Examples and signs: Frequent injuries, burns and bruises, fear of going home or being alone with parents and unreasonable clothing that might be hiding injuries to arms or legs.
- Sexual: Incest, rape or commercial exploitation. Examples and signs: Difficulty sitting or walking, evidence of injury to the genital area, acting out through sexual activity, fear of being alone with certain adults and sexual victimization of other children.
- Emotional: Extreme or bizarre forms of punishment. Examples and signs: Confinement in a closet or other unsuitable space, tying child up, habitual shaming or threatening, name-calling, constant screaming.
It is up to each of us to report child abuse. If you see any of these suspicious signs, report it. If there is any doubt whatsoever, report it.
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