April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Crime in America.Net
See data from the Department of Justice (below).
Everyone seems to have an endless array of beliefs regarding what causes crime to go up or down and most involve “others” doing or not doing something. What bothers us is our collective unwillingness to take an individual stand against child abuse.
This involves “us” getting personally involved in situations that most want to avoid. We see examples throughout our lives where children are mistreated; they do not have discipline or they are not encouraged to excel in school or there is little interaction with parents to outright abuse and neglect. From substance abuse to violence in media to music that flat-out promotes neglect, we turn a collective blind eye.
Child abuse and neglect is everyone’s daily responsibility. If we have the courage to deal with it head-on and insist that parents do the right thing, we will have a safer-better society.
Decreasing national crime may be (probably is) connected to a recent report from the US Department of Health and Human Services showing dramatic reductions in many (not all) measures of child abuse.
The report states that there were an estimated 553,000 children who suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse, down 26 percent from the estimated 743,000 abuse victims in 1993. The number of sexually abused children decreased by 38 percent. The number of children experiencing physical abuse decreased by 15 percent. The number of children emotionally abused fell by 27 percent.
The Connection to Crime
We live in a world of offenders who engage in an endless array of poor choices while drinking and drugging themselves on a regular basis. When you hear about the absence of biological fathers and non-caring mothers and boyfriends/girlfriends with dubious motives and endless examples of offenders raising and feeding themselves as children and the astounding rates of sexual abuse directed towards younger female offenders, then you wonder why child abuse is not a top priority of government, parents and individual citizens.
We believe that child abuse is a principal reason for crime and a wide variety of social ills. We believe that reductions in child abuse lead to reductions in crime. We believe that intervention in the lives of at-risk children and their parents should be a principal method of crime control.
See http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/02/03/big-drops-in-child-sex-and-physical-abuse-crime-news/ for access to our original article on decreases in child abuse.
The source for the materials below is http://www.ncjrs.gov/childabuse/.
Child maltreatment is a significant public health problem in the United States. Approximately 772,000 children are confirmed by Child Protective Services each year as being abused or neglected. These confirmed cases, however, represent only a fraction of the true magnitude of the problem. Most cases are not reported and child abuse and maltreatment remains a largely hidden problem (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month Web site).
Children may be exposed to violence every day in their homes, schools, or in their communities. They may be struck by a boyfriend, bullied by a classmate, or abused by an adult. They may witness an assault on a parent or a shooting on the street. Such exposure can cause significant physical, mental, and emotional harm with long-term effects that can last well into adulthood (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey, 2009).
In April of each year, the President of the United States issues a Proclamation to announce National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a month dedicated to supporting children, youth, and families in preventing child abuse and neglect. As presented in the 2010 Presidential Proclamation: “Every child deserves a nurturing family and a safe environment, free from fear, abuse, and neglect. Tragically, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse threaten too many children every day in communities across our Nation. Parents, guardians, relatives, and neighbors all share a responsibility to prevent these devastating crimes, and our government plays a critical role as well” (The White House, Presidential Proclamation — National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2010).
In ensuring the protection and welfare of children, the Federal Government has concentrated on three primary goals: safety, permanency, and well-being for abused and neglected children. The Government has led efforts to ensure that child welfare agencies, courts, and other stakeholders work together to achieve these worthy goals (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Court Performance Measures in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, 2009).
During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to raise awareness and promote strategies that address the risk factors surrounding child abuse. In recognition of the importance of ensuring child safety and welfare, NCJRS presents this compilation of child abuse-related publications and resources. Please select a topic from the following list or from the section at the right under the heading “Child Abuse” to learn more: