Child Abuse Prevention Month is observed every year in the United States and is dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse and neglect. Nearly 700,000 children in the United States are experiencing abuse every year. HCWC remains dedicated to ending violence in our communities and serves children through our children’s advocacy center, Roxanne’s House, which provides crucial services to children who need them. HCWC’s child advocates and prevention educators work year-round raising awareness about the dynamics of child abuse and promoting steps to prevent child abuse in our community.
The first step to preventing child abuse is recognizing that it is a serious and pervasive problem in the communities we live; for example, 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18. We can end child abuse by learning how to recognize signs of abuse, supporting those who have experienced abuse, knowing local mandated reporting laws, promoting positive parenting skills, and supporting Child Advocacy Centers like Roxanne’s House.
Child abuse is a difficult topic but we hope through open dialogue, education, and awareness; together we can prevent child abuse and end violence in our communities.
If a child tells you they have been abused, it is important to believe them. It can be difficult to hear that a child we care about has been abused, and it can even more difficult to hear that an adult or another child we may also care about is the person abusing them. It is rare for a child to lie about abuse and there is often pressure on children to keep the abuse a secret. Telling someone takes courage and shows trust. It is important to respond calmly with care and concern, and report the abuse to the appropriate agency. Read more about how to respond when a child tells you about abuse.
How can I help raise awareness in my community? Thank you.
Hi there Amy, thanks for commenting! There are many ways you can raise awareness in your community. First, I would get connected with your local Child Advocacy Center and ask about their outreach and how you can get involved. Second, you can always raise awareness online through social media. Abuse thrives in silence, so speaking out is a great way to raise awareness. Another cool idea we are working on is connecting with the local library to do a live or virtual reading of a book about body safety and consent.