Too Many Children are Victims of Violence and Abuse in the United States
Every year, more than 3 million children and teens fall victim to violence, abuse or neglect all over the United States. One fifth of these poor children are physically abused. Another one fifth are sexually assaulted. The rest are subject to emotional abuse or neglect. Law enforcement personnel and psychologists assess that on average a child suffers from violence or abuse every three second. And it gets grimmer: every year, close to 20,000 children are subject to severe injuries. Five children are killed every day, God forbids.
Neither socio-economic status nor race is a guarantee for safety. White, Black, Latin, Native American, rich and poor kids become victims of violence and maltreatment in America.
How can you tell that a child is a victim of violent abuse?
There are some signs which may arouse suspicion:
- The child’s body is covered with bruises with no clear explanation.
- The child’s mood changed radically; she has become sad, suppressed and she cries often.
- The child adopts a violent behavior all of a sudden.
- The child confesses she suffers from nightmares.
- The child is reluctant to go home.
What can be done?
If you have any reason to believe a child you know is abused, it is your moral (and legal) responsibility to report is to the authorities. Hesitation puts the child at grave risk. The sooner the authorities start check, the greater the chances that the child-victim physically and emotionally survives. It will also be much easier to treat her if the violence is stopped at early stages.
Who should you turn to?
You should first turn to the school (or kindergarten) where the child studies. If that does not help, you must go to a higher authority which is your state’s child protective services. The following, is a link to phone numbers of child protection agencies by state.
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