Did you know that as of 2017, nine children per thousand are maltreated? Child abuse isn't something anyone condones, and yet it still happens behind closed doors every day. In our society, child abuse can be covered and hidden before it's too late. Children who survive child abuse become adults who continue to struggle with depression, anxiety, C-PTSD, and more.
In order to bring light to this pervasive issue, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month is meant to strengthen the voices of abuse survivors as well as the prevention of abuse in the future–and you can be part of the solution.
Read on to learn all about National Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as how you can get involved today!
What is Child Abuse?
Although you may have a broad idea of what child abuse entails, it's important that you know the whole definition. Many people who suffered from child abuse in the past deal with the long-term ramifications today, but they don't believe that they got it “that bad” as children. This means that they continue to suffer in silence without seeking help.
Child abuse is physical and sexual abuse. However, it can also be emotional abuse, such as belittling, ignoring, isolating, or rejecting a child.
Medical abuse is when a guardian gives fake information about a child's health in order to get surgeries and care they don't need. This is done by caretakers that have Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP).
Last but not least, children can also be neglected. This is when guardians don't give them their proper food, shelter, medical care, education, or affection. These children may have to find their own food throughout the week and are often out on their own at a young age without supervision.
Not only are they not getting proper care from their parents, but this also puts them at greater risk of being taken advantage of by other adults.
What Are the Symptoms of Child Abuse?
Now that you know that child abuse extends beyond even physical and sexual abuse, it's important that you know the symptoms. This is because child abuse often goes unreported even when all of the signs are there. Here are a few of the signs that you should know to help keep your community safe:
- Drastic changes in behavior and in school performance
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Unexplained injuries or injuries that don't match the explanation given
- Depression, anxiety, enhanced fears
- Frequent absences from school
- Frequent attempts to run away
- Reluctance to go home
- Self-harm, attempts of suicide
- Poor hygiene
- Hiding food
It's important that if you recognize any of these signs that you report them to the police. This is especially true if the parent has a lack of concern for the child even if you bring up your concerns. You may also find that the parent or guardian blames the child for their problems as well as describes them in negative terms, such as “evil” or “selfish.”
You also have the option of calling the 24-hour National Child Abuse Hotline for confidential support. They also have the ability to text and live chat.
When is National Child Abuse Prevention Month?
Have you asked yourself, “Is today National Child Abuse Prevention Month?” If so, you'll need to know that it begins in April and extends throughout the month each year. This gives plenty of time to people to spread information, awareness, and share their own experiences with child abuse.
You'll also found that more people are wearing blue or showing off blue ribbons during this time, especially on Go Blue Day on April 1st as well as April 2nd. This allows people to create a united voice on social media and helps others become more curious about child abuse prevention.
Heal Together on April 8th
April 8th highlights child sexual abuse and helps supports children as well as families around the globe. You can take action by signing your name in support in order to stop child sexual abuse and give support to victims. This day prioritizes the long-term funding of organizations made specifically to combat child sexual abuse.
It also highlights the importance of sharing informative resources in order to prevent sexual abuse in the future. Last of all, you can spread the word that all sexual abuse survivors need the appropriate resources to heal.
Digital Advocacy Day
On April 21st, there's a push to contact your elected officials and spread the word about policy changes that can help prevent child abuse. Spread the word about this day on the social media platforms you use the most, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
The link provided includes a script that you can use on the phone or email. It also comes with resources that you can use in order to find your local elected officials who can bring these policies to light.
Plant a Pinwheel
Planting a pinwheel is one of the best ways that you can donate your money to a great cause. Pinwheels for Prevention allows you to plant a virtual pinwheel in order to help communities, children, and families thrive. The virtual gardens are visuals that show how important positive childhood experiences are as well as the number of people in support of change.
More National Child Abuse Prevention Resources
If you want to learn more about child abuse and its dangers, here are a few more resources that you may find interesting. Be sure to share them with friends, family, or even co-workers if you want to be part of the long-term success of thousands of abused children in the nation!
This outreach toolkit from the Child Welfare Information Gateway gives you all of the tools you need in order to spread the word about National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It includes graphics you can use on social media as well as sample posts and Tweets you can make.
It also includes the relevant hashtags that you can use throughout the month so that people beyond your following can find and share your posts.
Prevent Child Abuse America
The Prevent Child Abuse America site has a number of resources that can help you be the most active during this important month. For instance, you'll be able to keep track of important days throughout the month of April as well as find ways to stay active. It also comes with scripts, more resources, activities, and events you can get involved in.
If you're looking for a way to prevent child abuse throughout the year, this is a great resource to keep bookmarked.
Effective Social Marketing
If you want to dive deeper and learn how social marketing can make an impact with the audiences you seek, we also recommend taking a look at the University of Kansas Community Tool Box. Their outline provides ways you can determine when a social marketing campaign would be effective, collecting information, stating goals and objectives, and more.
Beneath each category, they provide even more resources that you can fully immerse yourself in the topic. For instance, they'll help you track how well your social media campaign is doing by teaching you how to develop an evaluation plan.
If you want to give back to your community and volunteer your time, effective social media campaigns are a great way to reach thousands of people who are willing to help. You'll also be spreading the message of how to identify child abuse, how to avoid it, and what to do if you know a child that's in need.
Be a Part of the Solution for Children
Learning more about child abuse is a hard topic to sit with. However, by educating yourself about child abuse throughout the National Child Abuse Prevention Month, you'll be able to benefit your community. You may find that people in your life or yourself have survived child abuse without addressing it later in life.
You may also be able to recognize the symptoms and patterns of abuse with children in your life. This can help you find them help as soon as possible so that the abuse doesn't get worse.
Lastly, talking about child abuse is the best way to help past victims of child abuse come forward. It helps break down the stigma so that they can begin processing and healing from their traumatic experiences.
Ready to learn more about health and lifestyle tips that can help improve your life for the better? Keep reading our blog for more informative articles!