Family Focus is going blue for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every year more than 3 million cases of child abuse and neglect are reported. Child abuse is preventable and interventions by those who recognize it and treat the victims can save lives.
Join us for the month of April as we turn our social media blue and share information on how to prevent child abuse. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or follow each of our centers on Facebook for a more in-depth look at events and programs: Aurora, DuPage, Englewood, Evanston, Family Network, Lawndale, Nuestra Familia.
What is child abuse?
- Physical abuse: an injury to a child that is not an accident, may include: hitting, punching, beating, burning, biting, kicking, cutting, shaking, or any action that physically harms a child.
- Emotional abuse: maltreatment of a child that may involve criticizing, insulting, yelling, swearing, manipulating, rejecting or withholding love.
- Sexual abuse: any sexual activity with a child, including exhibitionism, photographs or videos, pornography, prostitution, fondling or rape.
- Neglect: failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, medical or educational needs.
What are the consequences of child abuse?
Abuse is a traumatic experience and traumatic events, either isolated or chronic, can overwhelm a child's ability to cope and properly develop. Their physiological reaction to the trauma can continue long after the trauma is over and impact healthy brain development. Research shows that child abuse, like other trauma, is associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes later in life, including depression and suicide attempts, substance abuse, developmental disabilities and learning delays, social problems, teen pregnancy, missing school or work, domestic violence and chronic issues such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer and more. (Source: ChildWelfare.Gov)
How can you help prevent child abuse?
Child abuse is everyone's business. You can help by knowing the potential signs of child abuse, the signs of a potentially abusive adult, and how to report suspected abuse. Follow Family Focus all month long to learn how to help prevent child abuse. And if you have reason to suspect a child is being abused in Illinois, call the hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873).
Other helpful resources:
- Child Abuse Prevention Month Community Packet, Prevent Child Abuse Illinois
- Child Welfare Gateway, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Prevent Child Abuse America
- Week of the Young Child 2017, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
How can we help a child that has been abused?
Effects from child abuse can continue until a child is given treatment. At Family Focus, we reach families that have experienced trauma at the clinical level. We work with both caregivers and children to treat their trauma and help them build resilience. There is no one size fits all treatment for a child who experienced abuse, but helping them build trusting relationships with caregivers, encouraging them to work through their emotions, and maintaining consistency with care and support is vital.
In addition to offering trauma-based interventions, Family Focus works to prevent abuse before it even happens. Our programs work with parents to ensure they have the coping mechanisms necessary to manage the stresses that could lead to maltreatment of a child.