Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

It saddens me that as a nation we need a month to draw attention to the plight of abused children, but we do.

Most people deny that children are abused. It happens "someplace else." People do not realize (or maybe they don't care?) that it is happening to their child's best friend or the kid next door. They may even be abusing their own child but because "that is the way I was brought up" they think is is perfectly okay.

It is NOT okay.

Child sex abuse is one of the most abhorrent crimes on the planet. Yet look at these statistics:

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.

Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.

An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.

Even within the walls of their own homes, children are at risk for sexual abuse

Shocked? You should be. Those are horrible numbers. Break it down. One in four girls. In a classroom of 20 girls, that's five children. In a classroom of 24 boys, that is four boys. That's 9 kids in a group of 44. And those are the ones that are reported. If most kids never tell, just imagine how much horror is taking place in this country AT THIS VERY MOMENT.

Want more numbers?

30-40% of victims are abused by a family member. 

Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.

Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know.

Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers.

Sexual abuse can occur at all ages, probably younger than you think

The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old.

More than 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 8.

Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12.

Most children don't tell even if they have been asked.

Virginia has over 1.8 million children. Over 13 percent of those live in poverty (more than 1 in 10). In a classroom of 30 children, at least 3 are living in poverty.

In 2006, Virginia had 56,360 total referrals for child abuse and neglect. Of those, 29,141 reports were referred for investigation.

In 2006, 6,828 children were substantiated or indicated as abused or neglected in Virginia, a rate of 3.8 per 1,000 children, representing a 5.5% increase from 2005. Of these children, 4,204 were neglected, 1,904 were physically abused, and 950 were sexually abused.

In 2006, 20 children in Virginia died as a result of abuse or neglect.

In 2006, 7,843 children in Virginia lived apart from their families in out-of-home care, compared with 7,022 children in 2005. In 2006, 24.9% of the children living apart from their families were age 5 or younger, and 26.9% were 16 or older.

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported an estimated 1,760 child fatalities in 2007. This translates to a rate of 2.35 children per 100,000 children in the general population (or one child in Botetourt County - is that acceptable?). NCANDS defines "child fatality" as the death of a child caused by an injury resulting from abuse or neglect, or where abuse or neglect was a contributing factor.

Research indicates that very young children (ages 3 and younger) are the most frequent victims of child fatalities.

Children are not objects. They are not things parents own. They are people, human beings in their own right.

Love them, discipline them, raise them, but don't abuse them.

It is never okay to hurt a child.


  1. Those are some troubling numbers.

  2. It's scary how little is really done to help abused kids. In my state, it's common to return abused kids back to their parents because the officials feel it's best that kids are with their own parents, even if they are abused.

    What some of these kids go through is similar to torture. We, as a nation, should pay more attention to these kids and pass better laws and enforce the ones on the books. And, for heavens sake, keep the kids away from the abusive parents.

    Thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention!

  3. Did you see or read "Precious?" It's unbelievable what some kids go through.

    When I was a child, I had a minor incident with a dentist. While my mother was sitting outside in the waiting room! I wasn't sure what he was trying to do and was afraid to offend an authority figure. I was too embarrassed to tell my mother. She would have murdered him. I wish I told her then. I think I didn't say anything because I felt ashamed for being so stupid. That's how I felt as a kid. People need to speak out about it more. Victims are not stupid--they are not at fault in any way and we shouldn't be embarrassed about it. Would I feel ashamed if I was stabbed or robbed? No. Why do sexual abuse victims feel that way? We have to get rid of the stigma. People also need to wake up and realize like your figures show that it is very rarely the stranger in the bushes.

    Good post. It needs to be out there.

  4. Deb, I am very sorry you had that experience. It is not something to be dismissed.

  5. Those are sobering statistics, Anita. Thank you for writing about this.

  6. Boy, I guess I'm writing about some sad stuff lately, huh? For a long time it upset me but I'm okay now because I understand what a sicko that man was and I've always had comfort in knowing my mother would have killed him.


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