April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The adults we are closest to should be a beacon of light for us in our youth. All children should feel safe, loved, and should live their lives free of abuse. Unfortunately, this is not reality for all children. Each year nearly 3 million cases of child abuse are reported in America alone, and can have lifelong effects.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, SOS encourages individuals and organizations to play a role in making our communities a better place for children and families. By ensuring parents have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse as “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation.” Abuse includes child neglect, sexual and emotional abuse.

Child neglect is the most wide and vague form of abuse. It can be summarized as failing to fulfill the child’s physical, emotional, medical or emotional needs. Sexual abuse is exposing children to any sexual situation, whether by directly involving them or performing sexual acts in their presence. Emotional abuse is continual acts that hurt the child mentally. Showing rejection, humiliating, terrorizing, isolating and corrupting are all forms of emotional abuse. There is a fine line between abuse and discipline. Abuse is unpredictable, triggered by anger episodes and the intention to foster fear in the child.

Children often do not speak up about their abuse for many reasons. They may be afraid, do not know how to seek help, or may feel a loyalty to their abuser.

SOS, Inc., Emporia, Kan., is dedicated to raising awareness, empowering, and advocating for those affected by sexual, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. In 2017, SOS’s Child Visitation and Exchange Center, which offers supervised visitation and monitored exchanges in a safe, neutral environment, provided 673 services. From forensic interview to prosecution, the Child Advocacy Center and its teams ensure that child cases of alleged abuse or neglect are monitored until resolution. This past year, the Child Advocacy Center interviewed 116 child victims. Crisis and outreach services deliver advocacy services for adult and child victims of domestic and sexual violence, as well as stalking or human trafficking. Crisis services presented 334 prevention education programs to children in their service areas. CASA of the Flint Hills provided highly trained advocates to 98 out of approximately 150 abused or neglected children in the 5th Judicial District. Training to be an advocate starts soon. Contact Dena at 620-343-2744 for more information.

SOS is dedicated to supporting families and reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect. Childhood should be filled with fond memories of fun and laughter. But for too many children, it is filled with violence and betrayal. SOS encourages you to report child abuse by calling 800-922-5330, because every child deserves a safe childhood filled with good memories.

If you know a child being abused or suspect abuse, call SOS at 800-825-1295. For more information, call SOS or visit www.soskansas.com.

Submitted by Taumi Boyce, SOS Community Relations Coordinator.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas