April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. What can we do?
The answer can be as simple as reposting or sharing the images and information by various organizations, on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In or other social mediums. By attending one of the many events held in communities across the United States.
We can take it up a notch and volunteer with an organization like CASA, Alliance for children, or similar groups in our community, county, or state.
We can do whatever it takes to learn the rules, guidelines and laws that effect child safety in regard to abuse and sexual abuse. Go to the Child Protective Services website for your state. Then contact them with you questions and for clarification. It is our right to ask questions not involving a specific case.
Many will be shocked to learn the reality of rights and laws that protect the perpetrators and their protectors. As equally dismaying will be what is learned about the lack of rights for the child and how most often they are left in the home with the offender or the protector of the offender. And, how the school, daycare, and other relatives are left ignorant of the situation as the Mother/Guardian is left in full control of giving that information to the schools, daycare, relatives.
Therefore, if that Mother/Guardian is; a part of the abuse, is in denial, puts their social and financial status above that of the child, or is not functioning in a way that allows them to do the right thing, and then no one is told.
As a result, the abusers who are not supposed to be around the child are free to do so and no one around the child is aware of those restrictions. These are the realities of FBSS, Family Based Social Services, which is where 80-85% of the cases fall. Because CPS only takes the kids and go to court as a very last resort.
In FBSS, there is usually no reporting to CPS, no monitoring by CPS and the only way CPS will become involved again is if the child tries to get help, again. Do you think a child that has told these horrific details and then been put back into the home is likely to cry out again? We need to change these rules, guidelines and laws.
We can go to our state and federal government websites and locate Bills that affect the funding and laws effecting Child abuse. This can mean funding, admissibility of evidence, sentencing and parole for convicted child sex offenders and so on. There is a simple process of searching, then tagging those Bills and tracking them by having them sent to our personal email address as action occurs.
We can open our eyes and learn to listen to what a child is saying. They often need our silence to give them the opportunity to gather the courage to speak out. There outcry will probably not be a direct description. They may use nicknames for their body parts; they may not have knowledge of the proper words to tell you what happened. Color with them, do arts and crafts, play cards and let them lead the conversation. We must be prepared to guard our response to what the child says; they will be watching. If we react in horror, recoil, or cry they may stop talking. Listening is an art we must cultivate.
If we suspect sexual abuse and the child does not tell, that is not unusual. We must follow our gut instinct and report. This blog site has a separate list of whom to contact for each state.
This is our community, our children and our future. Remember the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Let us get back to that; stop waiting for someone else to take action and be the person of action ourselves. I believe, together, we can save our children and our future one step at a time, one action at a time, one voice at a time, one person at a time we will grow stronger the network of pedophiles and thoe that protect them.