April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Sunday April 22, 2012

By Amy Morin, Amy Morin

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Since 1983, the U.S. has declared April to be Child Abuse Prevention Month. The purpose of devoting this month to child abuse prevention is to bring awareness to the public about the alarming rate at which children are abused and neglected. By educating the community on how to prevent and address child abuse, individuals and social service agencies can help reduce the incidents of abuse. A good way to prevent child abuse is to learn to recognize risk factors.  One major risk factor is the lack of knowledge about healthy discipline techniques. This can be addressed by offering parent education that teaches how to replace abusive punishments with healthy, effective discipline strategies. Stress and lack of support can also contribute to child abuse. When parents lack basic needs, such as food and shelter, they are at a higher risk of becoming abusive. Also, when parents lack support of friends and family to assist them emotionally or with tasks such as baby-sitting, this can also lead to abuse. Sometimes prevention can be as simple as linking families to available resources in the area and by helping them make connections within their community. Many states and communities have events throughout the month of April to help communities prevent child abuse. There are lots of ways to get involved. For example, getting to know your neighbors and offering to help when needs arise can be very effective. Other ways to help prevent child abuse include volunteering at community events, organizing a parent support group, or by becoming a respite care provider. Find other strategies to get involved at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Child Welfare Information Gateway.    


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