April is Child Abuse Awareness Month…

Behind any child abuse statistic are heartbreaking child abuse stories. The reality is that even today, child abuse remains an “uncomfortable” subject in our society even with the rates of child abuse increasing. Child abuse reaches across all cultures, socio-economic lines, religions and educational levels.

Child abuse statistics are available to the public to make anyone aware of how common it is. We wanted to remind people that during this month of April, please educate yourself more on the topic of child abuse and learn the signs and ACT!

Here are a few statistics about child abuse that will not just make you think about the problem, but perhaps stand up and make a difference in the prevention of child abuse:
• Over 3 million reports of child abuse were reported last years. However experts argue that the real existing number of actual child abuse is triple the number.
• Every 10 seconds, a report of child abuse is made.
• Of the number of reported rapes of children under 12 years old, 90% knew their perpetrator.
• 79% of the children who are killed because of abuse are younger than 4 years old.
• There are 4 fatalities due to child abuse and neglect each year.

If you suspect abuse of a child, please report. Once the signs are picked up on (like unexplained bruises, behavior changes/regressive behaviors, fear of certain adults/caregivers).

Sometimes older children who are suffering from abuse, will not come right out and disclose, but they may tell their friends over time about their abuse. If you happen to be a parent, listen to what your child tells you about another child. If things don’t sound right, and you strongly suspect abuse or neglect make the call. You can save a child’s life.

Ten Ways to Help Prevent Child Abuse

1. Be a nurturing parent.
Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams.

2. Help a friend, neighbor or relative.
Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.

3. Help yourself.
When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control – take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.

4. If your baby cries…
It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry. Learn what to do if your baby won’t stop crying. Never shake a baby – shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.

5. Get involved.
Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.

6. Help to develop parenting resources at your local library.

7. Promote programs in school.
Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.

8. Monitor your child’s television and video viewing.
Watching violent films and TV programs can harm young children.

9. Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program.
For information about volunteer opportunities, call 1.800.CHILDREN.

10. Report suspected abuse or neglect.
If you have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, call the Arkansas Department of Human Services – Child Abuse HOTLINE: 800-482-5964 or you local police department.

¡Hola! Arkansas Staff Writers

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