10 Ways YOU Can Prevent Child Abuse

Whether you are a parent or another adult in the life of a child, these resources are provided to help you to promote well being in the family and child's life and prevent child abuse and neglect. 

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Know what child abuse is. Physical and sexual abuse clearly constitutes maltreatment, but so does neglect - the failure of parents or other caregivers to provide a child with basic needs such as food, clothing, and care. See Child Abuse Info for more information

Know the signs. Unexplained injuries are not the only signs of abuse. Depression, fear of a certain person or place, anxiety, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.See Child Abuse Info for more information

Report abuse. Be prepared by saving the Child Abuse Hotline number, 800-331-1585. Then, be watchful and alert.  If you suspect a child is being harmed or see evidence of abuse, or if a child tells you about abuse, make a report to the hotline or your local police. It may be urgent!  When talking to a child about abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.

Educate yourself and others. Talking to family, friends, coworkers and neighbors in our community can be effective in preventing child abuse and neglect. By encouraging others who may be struggling to seek assistance, you could help reduce the stress that often leads to abuse and neglect. Alternatives include parent education classes, after school activities (Boys & Girls Clubs), mentoring programs (Big Brothers/ Big Sisters), and child care. See Get Help for lifelines and assistance resources.

Teach children their rights.When children are taught they have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault and more likely to report an offender.

Examine your behavior. Abuse is not just physical. Both words and actions can inflict deep, lasting wounds. Be a nurturing parent and use your actions to show children and other adults that conflicts can be settled without hitting or yelling.

Discipline your children thoughtfully. Never discipline your child when you are upset, frustrated or angry. Use privileges to encourage good behavior, and time-outs to help your child regain control.  Remember, time out for a parent is also necessary at times.

Support prevention programs. Too often, intervention occurs only after abuse is reported. Greater investments in programs that have proven to stop abuse before it occurs are necessary. Be a voice in support of these efforts by advocating for services that assist the needs of families in our community such as family counseling and home visitation programs.

Invest in kids. Encourage leaders in our community to support children and families. Ask your local and national lawmakers to implement legislation that will provide better support to existing programs and services charged to protect our children from abuse and neglect.

Volunteer your time. Get involved in our community. Child abuse prevention is everybody’s business! There are many child abuse prevention resource agencies in Tulare County that need help, i.e. foster care, court appointed advocates, victim advocates or mentoring. See Get Involved for more information.

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