Child abuse can be defined as the physical, sexual, or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child. More specifically, child abuse has been defined as an act, or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child, or which places the child in an imminent risk of serious harm (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g).
Child abuse can have damaging effects not only on the children who suffer it, but on communities that must address the aftermath of abuse. Here are some alarming statistics:
The age at which most children who become victims of abuse and neglect is 18 months or younger.
The number of children in the United States who died because of abuse or neglect in 2010:
1,537 Of the number of children who died because of abuse or neglect;
79.4% were younger than four years of age;
47.7% were younger than one year in age;
The rate at which boys become victims vs. girls is nearly the same (48.5% male vs. 51.2% female);
The number of reports of child abuse every year in the United States: 3.6 million;
The number of children involved in child abuse reports: 6 million;
To bring attention to the issue of child abuse annually, April has been designated as the Prevent Child Abuse month. During this month, there are many events planned around the country to bring awareness to the issue of child abuse and to provide education and resources to the public.
Each year "Determined to Achieve Parent Network" presents an event to provide this awareness and education about child abuse to the public. It is the hope of the organizers that more people will get involved with making sure that every child within their surroundings is safe and free from harm.
At the child abuse awareness event there were lots of hand outs made available for the participants. Some of the material provided information on how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to report a case of child abuse.
Mayor Wayne Smith of Irvington, New Jersey instructed the children to talk to their parents or an adult if someone is touching them or making them feel bad about themselves. To make sure that the children were listening to his message, the mayor had the children repeat his instruction after him.
In addition to the educational material, there were fun activities for the children. Bobo the clown was present and conducting face painting for the children. A DJ was on hand to play music and keep the crowd in good spirits.
Its Playtyme, a traveling game company, organized a game of Family Feud for the children. There were painting activities, coloring activities and children had the opportunity to make and create beaded art work.
Several vendors were on hand to lend their support such as Investors Savings Bank. The girl scouts, dressed in their uniforms, were present and performed for the participants.
In addition to the music and games there was lots of food, fruit and beverages for the participants to enjoy. The Cee & Learn organization provided books for all the participants to take home.
The event ended with the children playing several rounds of musical chairs. Everyone had a great time.
Hopefully, the message of preventing child abuse resonated with many of the participants and a child will be saved as a result of this awareness and educational presentation.
If you or someone you know is being abused call 1-877-NJ Abuse. To view Mayor Wayne Smith message to kids, CLICK HERE.