April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
Child abuse refers to any harmful behavior from a parent or caregiver towards a person under 18, resulting in physical, emotional, or mental harm, and in some instances, death. Child abuse can take many forms such as physical, emotional, sexual, exploitative, or neglectful. Neglect is also a form of maltreatment where a child is not given the necessary care or supervision, including food, shelter, medical attention, emotional support, or other basic needs. While neglect is more common than abuse, both forms of maltreatment can cause long-term emotional, mental, or physical harm, making it difficult for the child to adapt and socialize.
Children may show behavioral changes or symptoms of abuse or neglect. These include acting out, being withdrawn or excessively angry, or showing signs of fear towards touch or certain individuals. However, some children may not show any symptoms of abuse or neglect, and it’s important to understand that certain behavior may be due to a personality disorder or other reasons.
If you notice signs of maltreatment, such as unexplainable bruises or marks, unusual sexual behaviors for their age, substance abuse, or extreme withdrawal or trust towards others, it may indicate suspicious activity or maltreatment. Neglect can also manifest in the child stealing or hiding food, excessive sleeping, dismissing serious medical symptoms, missing school or appointments, or appearing unclean.
Child Abuse Prevention Month raises awareness about child maltreatment and the importance of protecting children, one of the most vulnerable populations. Preventing child abuse and neglect requires intervention by officials, proper education, therapeutic counseling, and community-based resources. It is possible for a child’s situation to improve with intervention, and families can become much stronger. However, if a dangerous or abusive situation is allowed to continue, a child’s safety and life may be at risk.
If you suspect that a child is being mistreated, contact your local Child Protection Services Hotline, which is confidential and will keep your identifying information private. It’s better to report any suspicious activity and keep yourself safe.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect in Nevada, you can call:
702-399-0081 for Clark County and surrounding areas.
833-900-SAFE for Washoe County and surrounding areas.
For all other counties, call: 833-571-1041 during normal business hours or 833-803-1183 after business hours, on weekends, and on holidays.
If you believe it is an emergency call 911 or your local law enforcement office.
All information obtained from https://www.childwelfare.gois