Stopping the pain and the tears
By Russ Edem/530News –
April is Child Abuse Prevention month and the people of Great Bend need to be aware of what to do if a child approaches them to tell them they are experiencing abuse. Important first steps raising awareness of abuse becoming educated about what to do.
Prevention is extremely important, Director of the Child Advocacy Center Kasey Dalke said. Getting people talking about it is the first step in formulating solutions. Representatives from the CAC will meet with and provide presentations to small groups and civic groups upon request in order to raise awareness, Dalke said.
“Knowing what to look for and knowing what to do is extremely important,” Dalke said. People need to be aware of how the offenders operate. Bottom line, she said, always believe the child, never blame them and get them the help they need.
According to Dalke, the Child Advocacy Center sees about 135 children per year for abuse and 90 to 95 percent of those children are being seen for sexual abuse.
“A misconception about child abuse is that its always a stranger that does the abusing. But statistics show that more often than not it is a family member, a coach, or a teacher,” Dalke said. “Most times it is someone the child knows and trusts and who has access to them.”
There are four major ways children experience abuse. Although any of the forms may be found separately, they often occur together. Each state is responsible for establishing its own definition of child abuse and neglect that meet Federal minimum standards.
Most include the following:
• Neglect is failure to provide for a child’s basic needs.
• Physical abuse is physical injury as a result of hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or otherwise harming a child.
• Sexual abuse is any situation where a child is used for sexual gratification.
This may include indecent exposure, fondling, rape, or commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.
• Emotional abuse is any pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth, including constant criticism, threats, and rejection.
Trafficking is another type of child maltreatment. States are required to consider any child who is identified as a victim of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking (as defined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act) as a victim of “child abuse and neglect” and “sexual abuse.”
The term “sex trafficking” means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act. The term “severe forms of trafficking in persons” means sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
Child abuse and neglect affect children of every age, race, and income level. However, research has identified many common factors relating to the child, family, community, and society that are associated with an increased risk of child abuse and neglect. Some of these include:
• Immaturity. Young parents may lack experience with children or be unprepared for the responsibility of raising a child.
• Unrealistic expectations. A lack of knowledge about normal child development or behavior may result in frustration and, ultimately, abusive discipline.
• Substance use. The effects of substance use, as well as time, energy, and money spent obtaining drugs or alcohol, significantly impair parents’ abilities to care for their children.
• Intergenerational trauma. Parents’ own experiences of childhood trauma impact their relationships with their children.
• Isolation. Effective parenting is more difficult when parents lack a supportive partner, family, or community.
If someone knows of a child that is being abused, they are asked to call local law enforcement agencies or the Child Advocacy Center at 620-603-6515.