April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

One Out of Every Four Children Experiences Child Abuse

child abuseDid you know that one out of every four children experiences child abuse at some point in their lives? This means that it’s likely that you know someone who has been the victim of child abuse. Other alarming child abuse statistics include:

  • In 2015, more than 1,670 children died from neglect and abuse.
  • The same year, approximately 683,000 children were victims of abuse.
  • It’s not just the physical effects; victims of abuse suffer from problems related to mental health, social development, risk-taking behaviors like substance abuse and missing out on lifetime opportunities, like education and employment.

Child abuse and neglect includes multiple types of negative behaviors against a child that is under 18 by a parent, caregiver or another person that is in a custodial role for the child. It can occur in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect. Aside from physical harm, these types of abuse can cause problems with early brain development and difficulties in the nervous and immune systems. Abuse during childhood also increases an individual’s risk for violence in the future, unhealthy relationship behaviors and poor overall health.

This information may feel a bit overwhelming, and it may cause you to wonder what one person could possibly do to combat the problem.

Each April, organizations like the YWCA St. Joseph help to raise awareness and help the community find ways to promote prevention during Child Abuse Prevention Month. There are key strategies for preventing child abuse that are being addressed in the St. Joseph community:

  • Strengthening economic support for families
  • Providing support for positive parenting
  • Offering high-quality care and education for young children
  • Providing parenting skills training to support wellness in child development
  • Intervention when child abuse is detected

The YWCA offers a variety of services designed to interrupt the progression of child abuse. The YWCA Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children gives women the opportunity to bring their children to a safe place on a moment’s notice. The Shelter also offers court advocacy, support groups, life skills training and specialized children’s programs, all designed to help families begin a brighter future.

The Healthy Teen Parents/Healthy Babies program offers support from peers, mentoring from adults and other services to help prevent teens from experiencing depression and social isolation – factors that could be linked to a risk of child abuse. The YWCA Discovery Child Care offers high-quality, licensed, positive and affordable child care that is essential to families who are employed or are boosting their education toward employment.

One practical way that you can help bring awareness to child abuse in the community is by purchasing a Children’s Trust Fund license plate. It only takes five minutes, and you can designate your $25 donation to go directly to the YWCA St. Joseph. In addition to helping the YWCA fund programs to prevent child abuse, you’ll also raise awareness by prominently displaying your license plate with its distinctive green handprints and “Prevent Child Abuse” text on your car.

To learn more about Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, to learn more about the parenting classes offered by the YWCA or to donate funds or time volunteering in one of our programs, contact the YWCA St. Joseph today.

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