Raising awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month
April serves as National Child Abuse Prevention Month across the United States. With the pandemic lessening the amount of interaction outside the home, national and local agencies are urging everyone to work together to protect children in the area. Here are some steps the community can take towards helping the children of Beaufort County:
- Be vigilant. Children can be abused in numerous ways and the signs are not always visible. The three main substantiated types of abuse according to the national Administration for Children and Families are neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse. In addition to abuse, adverse childhood experiences like parental substance use or untreated mental illness, parental incarceration, domestic violence and divorce can impact children and can lead to negative outcomes in their adult life such as substance use, poor physical and mental health and risky behaviors.
- If something is seen, say something. A majority of reports of suspected child abuse come from good-intentioned samaritans that submit a report to the Beaufort County Department of Social Services. All reports are screened to determine if the child in question is in danger in their current environment. Reporting any concerning sign or behavior is an important first step in working toward helping these children even if the screening proves no abuse is going on in the home.
- Encourage community engagement. The more individuals within a community that are aware of child abuse prevention, the more children are protected from experiencing any form of abuse. This community involvement leads toward increased awareness regarding what signs to look for which can increase the number of reports received by the Beaufort County Department of Social Services. While an increased volume of reports may seem alarming, it ultimately leads to more protection for children who may be experiencing some form of abuse. These claims must be made for an investigation to take place, which is the only way abuse can be addressed by the proper authorities.
For more information on preventing childhood abuse, contact the Beaufort County Department of Social Services at (252) 975-5500.