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Monday, April 4, 2011

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Since April is Child Abuse Prevention Month I thought I’d provide some general information on child abuse, as well as some links to more detailed information. Child abuse is a common problem in the United States. Approximately three million cases of child abuse and neglect involving almost 5.5 million children are reported each year.

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of child abuse.

Physical Signs
- Any injury (bruise, burn, fracture, abdominal or head injury) that cannot be explained
- Genital pain or bleeding, as well as a sexually transmitted disease

Behavioral Changes that Raise Concern about Possible Abuse
- Fearful behavior (nightmares, depression, unusual fears)
- Abdominal pain, bedwetting (especially if the child has already been toilet trained)
- Attempts to run away
- Extreme sexual behavior that seems inappropriate for the child’s age
- Sudden change in self-confidence
- Headaches or stomachaches with no medical cause
- Abnormal fears, increased nightmares - School failure
- Extremely passive or aggressive behavior
- Failure to gain weight (especially in infants) or sudden dramatic weight gain - Desperately affectionate behavior or social withdrawal
- Big appetite and stealing food Neglecting a child is also a form of child abuse.

Be on alert for any of these signs of neglect.

Consider the possibility of neglect when the child:
- Is frequently absent from school
- Begs or steals food or money
- Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses
- Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor - Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather - Abuses alcohol or other drugs
- States that there is no one at home to provide care

The major reasons for physical and psychological mistreatment of children within the family often are parental feelings of isolation, stress, and frustration. It’s important for parents to learn how to control their emotions so they don’t take things out on their children. Parents need companionship from other adults who will help them by listening during times of frustrations and other problems. There are also support groups to help.

To prevent abuse from outside the home, it is important for parents to be involved in their child’s activities and to know the people they hang around with. Do not allow them to wander into unfamiliar places and to be around unfamiliar people. It’s important to teach your children to be careful, while at the same time not frightening them. Make sure they know it is ok to tell you if someone does something to them that frightens them.

For more information on child abuse, visit these web sites:
Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect: Signs and Symptoms (Children's Bureau)

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect (Children's Bureau)

Tips for Being a Nurturing Parent (Children's Bureau) - PDF

Responding to a Disclosure of Child Abuse (National Network for Child Care) – PDF

Responding to a Disclosure of Child Abuse (National Network for Child Care) – PDF (Although this contains some local information for Nevada, it also contains some very helpful general tips)

1 comment:

  1. This is important. Child abuse is now increasing these days. Parents also bothered more form this. It could be stopped.