This month is child abuse prevention month. There are many things that can contribute to child abuse. There are also many things that we can do as a community in order to help those who seem to be struggling. Some things that can contribute to child abuse is stress (feeling overwhelmed, like there is too much on your plate, etc.), substance use (substances can fog the mind and create spaces for abuse where they normally would not be there), and poverty (not having the resources to care for your children). All of these things are very real, and abuse can happen in otherwise very loving homes due to one or all of these factors. Sometimes, abuse is witnessed and no one reports what is going on. This is where the community comes in. If you see something, say something.
Child abuse and neglect is very serious, and has harmful and last effects on the child. Here are some ways we can help to prevent child abuse in our communities:
- Connections to resources- some families who are suffering from poverty do not know what is out there that can help. Therefore, know the resources in your community and help families to reach out when they need help.
- Support families with positive parenting- community groups that provide positive parenting tips, as well as parenting classes at affordable prices.
- Intervene if there is suspected abuse- early intervention can lessen harm, and get the family and children the help that they need.
- Provide support- if you know a parent and see that they are struggling, offer help and let them know that you are there for them. This can be anything from lending a listening ear, or offering to watch their children for a day to give them a break.
- Maintain relationships- some parents feel isolated from friends after having kids. Continue to stay connected, and build those relationships. This creates less isolation in the parents, and allows you to be a support in their life.
These are all ways in which you can help someone who may be suspected of child abuse. However, it is also important to know how to get help if you are struggling and are worried that you might make potentially harmful decisions. It’s important to reach out for help. Therapy can be a great resource, and can help you balance some of the overwhelming feelings associated with life and being a parent. Another tip would be to get involved with parenting classes in your community. These classes provide tips and skills in order to cope and better understand your children. Asking for help in order to prevent child abuse is crucial.
Below is a list of resources to get into contact with if you suspect someone of child abuse:
- To report child abuse/neglect- Hotline (855) 323-3237
- Prevent child abuse- https://dcfs.utah.gov/services/prevention/
- Child Protective services (CPS)- http://dcfs.utah.gov/services/child-protective-services