June 6, 2013

Prevent Child Abuse Everyday

By Amy Alvarez, MSW
Program Manager
Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center
Child Abuse Council

June is the beginning of summer, which is a symbol of freedom for children and families – no school, playing outside, going to the beach, baseball games, barbecues, boating, and all kinds of activities. We are only able to indulge in these activities for a few months out of the year. It is easy to get caught up in the spirit of summer forgetting about the realities that some children face on a daily basis. This reality is that of child abuse.

Child Abuse does not have a season…children in this country are abused every moment of every day. Child abuse has no boundaries; it affects children of all races, ethnicities, cultures, and socio-economic classes. Child abuse is ugly and gross, and it is easy to put it aside, thinking to oneself, “That does not happen in my neighborhood or my community.” The reality is that child abuse IS happening, and if we as a society are not willing to face the ugly truth, it will continue to persist.

Like many important causes, Child Abuse Prevention is recognized during the month of April. During April, it is hard to go anywhere without seeing signs of child abuse prevention and awareness…streets are littered with blue pinwheels and blue
ribbons. Social media sites are filled with child abuse prevention activities and awareness events. Individuals wear blue for a reason, other than the fact that they look good in blue. Individuals wearing blue are proud to band together to make sure everyone knows why they are in that partcular color. As quickly as you begin seeing these symbols of hope and prevention, they disappear. I want to encourage everyone to promote and support child abuse prevention every day of the year. Why wait for April? Child abuse does not wait for April, so why should we wait to focus on prevention and awareness of this atrocity?

Promoting Child Abuse prevention and awareness can be done every day. Continue to wear your blue ribbons, pinwheel buttons, and those funky blue socks. Keep the pinwheels on your desk and in your yard. Openly talk about child abuse prevention with your kids and family. If you see something, do something! It can be as simple as calling in a report to the Department of Human Services or casually intervening when you see a child being bullied by an adult. These are just a few ideas as to how we can keep child abuse prevention in the public’s eye every day.

You never know the one small thing you do to bring awareness to child abuse and prevention might just have a lasting impact on the life of a child; and who would not be proud to say they saved the life of a child!

For information about the Child Abuse Council’s prevention, education and treatment programs, you can visit us as www.childabuseqc.org, or call (309) 786-1466, or contact Amy at amya@childabuseqc.org.