Closer Than You Think
In order to prevent child abuse and neglect, we must expose its terrible truths. It hits close to home for all of us, whether we’re aware of it or not.
• Nearly 6 million child abuse reports are made in the US each year.
• More than 5 children die every day from child abuse.
• The number one source of child abuse is neglect, accounting to 78% of all abuse reports.
• 1-in-4 women and 1-in-6 men are sexually abused before the age of 18.
• Abuse reports are highest in children under 6 years of age, followed closely by children under the age of 12.
• Children age 4 years and younger are the most common victims of fatal child abuse or neglect. These children are the most vulnerable for many reasons, including their dependency, small size, and inability to defend themselves.
If you know or suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, it is your duty to let someone know. By reporting even the slightest suspicion, you could help save the life of a child. Don’t be afraid to report, because you may be the only witness. By calling 1-800-800-5556 you can make an anonymous report of abuse or neglect from which corrective/investigative actions can take place to help the child.
Recognize & Identify
Recognizing and identifying child abuse or neglect is often difficult because you may not witness or see it directly. Other times the evidence of child abuse is clear. Our resources contain a wealth of helpful information on how to identify abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Here are a few behavioral and physical factors that may help you identify abuse or neglect if you don’t witness it firsthand:
• Behavioral—significant changes in behavior that are not readily explained; nervousness or aggression around adults; changes in personality, activities and concentration; low self-esteem; unusual “too perfect” behavior.
• Physical—any bruising or injury in an infant who is not yet trying to walk, injuries to the ears, trunk or neck in children less than 4 years old; unexplained bruises or significant injuries; patterned bruises in the shape of an object or in unusual locations; very poor hygiene; severe malnutrition.
The first step to preventing child abuse and neglect is awareness. Know that children around you are being abused. You can help stop and prevent abuse by keeping an eye out for the warning signs mentioned above.
But preventing child abuse also starts at home, with your own children. It’s important to talk to your children about abuse and safety, to know where they’re going and who they’ll be with, and to pay attention to their behaviors.
25,000 cases of child abuse and neglect are substantiated in Indiana each year. Report child abuse or neglect. 1-800-800-5556.