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A Difficult Discussion: Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention

Written by: Ashley Shaffer, M.A., Visit Facilitator

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, an important time to bring awareness and promote safety for children and adolescents. Child abuse is an action or lack of action that has the potential to cause severe emotional, physical, and/or exploitative harm to a minor. This type of experience can be traumatic and can have long-lasting negative effects on an individual’s mental and physical health.

Through awareness, advocacy, and intervention, abuse survivors can heal and lead fulfilling lives. It is important to understand and identify child abuse to can keep children safe and get them the help they need. Here are some facts about child abuse to aid in the understanding of this issue:

  • Neglect is the most common form of abuse.

  • Child abuse can be deadly.

  • Offenders are most often the parents of the victim.

  • The younger the child, the more vulnerable the victim.

  • Many cases of child abuse are perpetrated by another child.

Indicators of child abuse may be hard to tell, as the victim may try to hide the evidence of abuse. This could be due to manipulation by the perpetrator, fear of retaliation, care for the perpetrator, embarrassment, etc. Child Protective Services is trained to intervene and mitigate these concerns. Some of the warning signs that a child may be experiencing abuse include:

  • Bruises, broken bones, scars, etc. without sufficient explanation.

  • Hunger or unkempt appearance.

  • Hypervigilant/fearful behavior around others.

  • Insufficient supervision.

Child abuse is a very sensitive topic and affects so many. It is important to understand that abuse is never the victim’s fault, even when they may be told otherwise. No one deserves to be abused or traumatized. For those struggling with past or present abuse, there is help. 

Resources for further education and support:


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