Sunday, April 10, 2011

Prevent Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States.

The statistics are sobering.

Every 84 minutes in this country, a child is abused or neglected.

Every 8 days, a child dies from abuse or neglect, often at the hands of a parent. In Virginia, every 6 days a child under the age of 19 is murdered.

Every 5 hours, a Virginia child witnesses an act of domestic violence.

In Virginia, over the most recent one-year period for which information is available, 48,915 reports of child abuse were filed with Social Services. Over 6,200 of those reports were substantiated, meaning there was plenty of evidence to support a determination of abuse. Maybe not so bad, you think, but that means the rest were marginal enough to cause concern to somebody.


• 55.31% of the maltreatment was due to physical neglect, a failure to provide food, clothing, shelter or supervision to the child to the extent that the child’s health was endangered.

• 25.86% of the maltreatment was due to physical abuse.

• 13.39% of the maltreatment was due to sexual abuse.

• 2.05% of the maltreatment was due to medical neglect.

• 2.10% of the maltreatment was due to mental abuse/neglect.
Of those reports, 65 % of the victims were white. Thirty-two percent were black.

In 2010, 44 children died from abuse in Virginia. Of those 44, 40 were aged four or younger.

Child abuse costs the United States $258 million per day.

What constitutes child abuse?

• non-accidental physical or mental injury, including, but not limited to a child who is with his parent during the manufacture or sale of certain drugs.

• neglect or refusal to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, emotional nurturing, or health care.

• abandonment.

• failure to provide adequate supervision in relation to the child’s age and level of development.

• committing or allowing to be committed any illegal sexual act upon a child including incest, rape, fondling, indecent exposure, prostitution, or allows a child to be used in any sexually explicit visual material.

• knowingly leaving a child alone in the same dwelling with a person who is not related to the child by blood or marriage and who is required to register as a violent sexual offender.

Child abuse is not usually just one physical attack or just one instance of failure to meet a child’s most basic needs. Usually child abuse is a pattern of behavior which takes place over a period of time. The longer child abuse continues, the more serious it becomes, and the more difficult it is to stop.
Isn't it time we stop this madness?

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