Awareness: Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) –

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. – Helen Keller (1880 – 1968) –

So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world. – Isodore Duncan –

As part of this month’s theme for the Social Justice Challenge, I need to perform an action related to the theme. I have decided that my action will be to provide information here on my blog which will raise awareness of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. It is articles like this one which make me realize that it is not just society at large who needs to see this problem for what it is, but judges and law enforcement may also need some education. To think that a judge would mandate children have overnight visitation with a father who is a danger to them (albeit with “conditions” such as the need for a lock on the girls’ bedroom door and another adult present somewhere in the home during the visit) is appalling. Cara from The Curvature discussed this case on her blog – and she makes my argument far more compellingly than I do.

The problem is widespread (just do a Google search on “child abuse” and you will find yourself overwhelmed with thousands of articles). The National Statistics on child abuse are mind-numbing.

Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children.  In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations. – from Child

The numbers are staggering:

  • Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse.   More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
  • It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
  • Ninety percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.

The cost to society is huge:

  • Thirty-one percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.
  • Over 60% of people in drug rehabilitation centers report being abused or neglected as a child.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children.
  • About 80% of 21 year old that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime.
  • Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely develop alcohol abuse
  • Children who have been sexually abused are 3.8 times more likely develop drug addiction

It is easy to become overwhelmed with the statistics and to think there is nothing we can do to change them. But, I am encouraged by the number of websites and organizations devoted not just to stopping the cycle of child abuse, but to ending domestic violence on all levels.

Here is what YOU can do:

LEARN to recognize the signs of abuse or neglect. This page on is a terrific resource to educate yourself.

REPORT suspected abuse. You do not need to be certain abuse is happening, you only need to suspect it. Your suspicions will be investigated by people trained in identifying abuse. Reporting is anonymous.

EDUCATE those around you. April is Child Abuse Prevention month. You can take action – here is a calendar with an action per day during the month of April.

ADD YOUR NAME to the U.S. Postage Stamp Initiative (to increase awareness of the Children’s Memorial Flag, CWLA and Alameda County are submitting a proposal for the Children’s Memorial Flag to be commemorated on a US postal stamp). **I added my name to this initiative as another part of my action for this month’s Social Justice theme.

I will leave you with a touching video about child abuse…we CAN do something:

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    • Ti on March 26, 2010 at 13:58

    With the economy the way it is, social services and child protective services will take a huge hit and the monitoring of such cases will go by the wayside. It sickens me. There is no excuse for child abuse of any kind, verbal or physical.

    • Wendy on March 27, 2010 at 08:17

    Ti: *nods* with all the cutbacks, it is frightening. I think that is why it is more important than ever for people to speak up and let government know this is not an area we can afford to cut services. It is a horrible crime – and it needs to be stopped.

    • Erin on March 29, 2010 at 07:11

    What a wonderful summary. I learned so much! Thanks for all the info.

    • Wendy on April 2, 2010 at 09:52

    Erin: You’re welcome -I’m glad this post was eye-opening and taught you something you didn’t know before.

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