Every day, thousands of children in the United States are facing abuse. This abuse comes from a variety of sources, including parents, teachers, clergy, other relatives, and even strangers. Child abuse is not something that can always be detected, but there are things that anyone can do to help when it is. It is important to look for signs. Some of the signs may be subtle, and others may be staring at you right in the face. Here are some ways that you can detect, and help to prevent child abuse.
1. Talk to Children
Make sure that the children in your life always know that they have the right to be safe, and that it is not their fault if they find themselves in abusive situations. When children know that they have rights, they are more apt to report abuse.
2. Support Programs
There are many programs out there that are geared to stop abuse before it happens. These are programs that we all need to get behind and support, because all too often, help only comes after abuse is reported. There are programs at the local, state, and federal levels that specialize in helping to prevent child abuse.
You will find a number of resources that aid in the prevention of child abuse. Some of the top informational portals include:
III. Stop Child Abuse
4. Understand the Scope of Abuse
There are many forms of abuse besides physical and sexual abuse. It can come in the form of mental abuse, failure to provide the necessities of life, rejection, isolation, and insults. The more you know, the better able you will be to see abuse when it is happening.
5. Know the Signs of Abuse
Obviously, bruises and other marks are often clear signs of abuse. But, there are also signs that aren’t visible. Often, children who are abused display signs of depression, mistrust, inappropriate sexual behavior, a lack of personal hygiene and hostility. They usually have difficulty in making new friends. These are often signs that there is something wrong.
6. Notice Behavioral Changes
7. Notice if Children Fear Going Home
If you notice that a child doesn’t want to go home, and even seems to be afraid to go home, it may be that they are worried about abuse at home. If they seem afraid to leave school or go anywhere with certain people, this may also be a sign that they are being abused.
8. Notice if Children are too Sexual
There are certain things that children learn about sexuality at certain ages. Often, children who are being sexually abused display a lot more knowledge about sex than they should. They may also display sexual behavior or use explicit language.
9. Notice any Physical Changes
Children who are not getting enough to eat at home will often display physical signs. Take note of children who have unexplained weight loss, because this is a sign that they are not getting proper nutrition.
You can volunteer your time with local child abuse programs. If this is something that interests you, there are family support centers, crisis intervention centers, etc. that are out there to help families who are under stress. Not only can you help children who are being abused, you can play a big role in preventing abuse from happening in the first place.