EDUCATION & RESOURCES
A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the United States. More than three million reports of suspected abuse are filed in the U.S. every year. Kentucky has led the nation in child abuse rates for the past three years. An average of five children die every day due to child abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, many more cases may never get reported. One victim of child abuse is one too many.
Most often the abuser is someone the child knows, such as a parent, neighbor or relative but most adults are not abusers.
Child abuse usually happens in the child's home. Sometimes it happens in other settings, but this is fairly uncommon.
WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?
Physical abuse includes beating, burning, or punching a child; disciplinary methods that leave a mark on a child.
Emotional abuse may involve criticizing, insulting, rejecting, or withholding love from a child. It can also include exposure to fearful situations or verbal threats of harm.
Sexual abuse includes rape, touching/fondling or involving a child in pornography; adults who exposes themselves to a child; sexual harassment, allowing kids to witness sexual activity, or subjecting a child to pornography.
Neglect includes failure to provide for a child's basic physical, emotional, or educational needs; placing children at risk for physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; leaving a young child home alone or failing to provide needed medical care.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Know what child abuse is. Physical and sexual abuse are the more obvious types of maltreatment. However, neglect, the failure of parents or caregivers to provide a child with basic needs, supervision, and education is the most common form of child abuse. Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, berated, or continuously isolated by their caregivers.
Know the signs of abuse. Signs of abuse may not always visible like an unexplained injury. A change in behavior, development delays and more can all be signs of abuse or neglect.
Start small, support the children and families in your circle. Whether it is offering your neighbor a kid-free evening out, helping pick-up a child from soccer practice, or simply lending a listening ear to a stressed caregiver, anything you do to support families in your circle helps reduce the likelihood of child abuse. The struggles of parenting seem less overwhelming when you have a strong support nearby.
Report suspected abuse. It is an adult responsibility to keep kids safe and in the state of Kentucky all adults are mandated reporters on child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected call 1-877-KY-SAFE1, or 911 if the child is in immediate danger.
Support local prevention programs. All too often we see intervention come after a child has experienced neglect or abuse. Through prevention programs focus can be put on providing education, support and resources to families.