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National Child Abuse Prevention Month

The month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. All month long, parents, teachers, priests, law enforcement officials, government entities and politicians join forces to promote the social and emotional health and welfare of children throughout the country.

Child abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional, is found in all segments of society. It has a negative effect on children of races, religions, cultures, and social and economic backgrounds. All children have a fundamental need, and right, to feel safe and secure, not just in their homes but at school, on the streets, in libraries, parks, churches, at the mall, and anywhere they go in any community. But that's not always the case.

According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that nearly one in four girls and one in six boys will experience sexual abuse in one form or another before they reach the age of eighteen.

Children are often abused at home, at school, in the church, or at other places that are considered safe. Many parents don't think this could happen to their child so they don't talk to them about things that are going on in their lives and they don't pay attention to the warning signs. A child needs to be confident enough to bring abuse to the attention to anyone who is willing to listen.

In many cases, children are reluctant to talk about abuse, whether it is at home, school, or anywhere else. They are often afraid that there will be bad repercussions for them or, sometimes, for the one who is doing the abusing. The abuser may be a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, priest, teacher, friend of the family, neighbor, someone they met on the internet, or a total stranger.

Since 1983 when Congress proclaimed the month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, organizations across the country have worked hard to bring the issue of child abuse and neglect to the forefront of our attention. Prior to that time, child abuse was often an issue that was hush-hush or swept under the rug.

Today, the issues surrounding child abuse is front and center on the minds of everyone. It is shown regularly on the news, talk shows, and in the print media. Many prominent politicians have made child abuse their main cause of contention and law enforcement officials and organizations are actively seeking out and arresting child molesters and abusers, especially those who are repeat offenders.

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Justice,  Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies are working together to end child abuse and sexual assault among school-aged youth.

If you know of a child who is being abused in any way, by all means, report it to the proper authorities as soon as possible. Your prompt action may be the difference between the life and death of a child or it could prevent further abuse.

You can get involved with groups and organizations in your local community who are working to help children escape the scourge of child abuse.



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