There are few crimes as horrible as child abuse and neglect. A most powerful statement on child abuse is Oprah Winfrey:
“If I could just change one thing, I would stop people from beating their kids. Not just beating, but verbally abusing kids, neglecting kids. You lose your childhood when you’ve been abused. My heart goes out to those children who are abused and have no one to turn to. My wish is that children be treated as people, and not as property; that their rights as human being on the planet – to food, shelter. education and health – be taken seriously. I see that the way people were treated as children cause them to grow and behave certain ways as adults. I see it as the root of almost every problem in our society.”
Preventing and stopping child abuse:
- Do NOT leave young children alone or unattended
Predators may hang out in parks, shopping malls, near school and homes, waiting to prey on a child momentarily left alone. Children do not have the awareness or self-preservation skills needed to defend themselves; we adults must protect them.
- Teach children rules of “Stranger Danger”
Teach children to stay with adults that they know, do not walk to school along and do not go into unpopulated areas. Help children understand that a person could lure them with gifts or lies. Teach children that if they are lost, they should find the nearest police officer or scream loudly for help. Instruct your children that they should not walk with or accept a ride from anyone – even someone they know – without your specific permission.
- Carefully choose caretakers
While there are many cases of children being abused by strangers, the sad truth is that most children are mostly abused by people that they are familiar with. when selecting babysitters, caretakers, child care and youth group leaders, etc. do a thorough background check and call all references.
- Set boundaries
firmly communicate expectations of physical and emotional boundaries to all adults caring for children, including family members, step-parents and babysitters. Practice modesty at home.
- Teach “Right touch, Wrong touch”
Teach and help children learn the difference between right and wrong touches, even form relatives and people they know.
- Guard internet use
Use parental software, set rules and pay attention to what your child is accessing online.
- Teach children assertive skills
Teach children how to physically and verbally defend themselves, how to say “NO” ot unwanted invitations or touch, what to do when they feel uncomfortable or afraid, who they can turn to and when to scream or flee.
- Listen to children
Let children know that they can speak with you openly and honestly if they are afraid or if they feel they have been touched in a wrong way. Believe them and encourage them.
To report child Abuse please call 706-791-4380, for additional information call Army Community Service, Family Advocacy Program at 706-791-3579.