Statistics have a way of putting things into perspective because they reveal the things we don’t outright see in everyday life. Unfortunately, statistics can reveal terrible truths that are hard to hear- especially when it comes to the welfare of children.
Child Abuse Statistics
One very concerning and heart breaking truth was brought to my attention at a recent meeting:
A staggering 4,941 cases of child abuse were confirmed in Bexar County last year.
This is just the cases that were reported.
Unfortunately, only 1 in 10 children actually step forward and report abuse, meaning that cases of abuse are actually 10 times this number.
Here are a few more heartbreaking statistics:
- 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (www.d2l.org)
- 4 to 5 Children Die Every Day in America from child abuse. (childhelp.org)
- More than 70% of the children who died as a result of child abuse or neglect were two years of age or younger.
- More than 80% were not yet old enough for kindergarten. (childhelp.org)
- Around 80% of child maltreatment fatalities involve at least one parent as perpetrator. (childhelp.org)
- In Texas, of the counties that have the highest number of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect, Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Bexar County has the highest incidents of child abuse per capita, based on child populations.
As a mother, these numbers have been in the back of my mind since I heard them. I cannot begin to explain how these numbers make me feel, and something needs to be done- NOW.
At our latest Blogger Coffee, we met with ChildSafe, a child advocacy group dedicated to helping children who are abused.
ChildSafe’s mission is to “…restore dignity, hope, and trust to children traumatized by abuse and neglect.” This organization acts as an outlet for children and their families who have experienced abuse, so that they are able to rehabilitate. They do this through counseling the victims and their family members, while acting as a neutral party during court proceedings.
“Last year, ChildSafe served over 3,400 individuals. ChildSafe experienced a 33% increase in the number of individuals served through counseling; a 37% increase in counseling sessions performed; a 6% increase in the number of new children served; a 9% increase in forensic interviews conducted over the previous year; and a 14% increase in the number of individuals trained.” (ChildSafe).
They also promote awareness with the hope that more victims will come forward and stop suffering from abuse. They do this through multiple campaigns throughout the year to include Cardboard Kids.
If you live in San Antonio, you’ll notice an annual display of cardboard children- each uniquely designed, to spread the awareness of child abuse. You might see them at your child’s school, a store, or at any place children might be. They serve as a representation of each child who has become victim to abuse.
They are also a symbol to victims, letting them know that they are not alone and can get help. These cardboard kids create awareness in the community- that there are children out there who need our help, and that the abuse needs to stop.
For parents, they serve as a reminder to have important conversations with their children. Conversations about abuse, what it is, what’s appropriate, what’s not, and that it’s okay to tell someone.
I picked up 5 cardboard kids in support of the cause, and took this opportunity to sit down with my children to have what would be a difficult, but important discussion.
Discussing Child Abuse with Children
At first, the kids weren’t quite sure what this was all about- they just assumed it was just a new craft that we were doing. After we raided the art closet and grabbed any/all craft supplies to create our cardboard kids, I sat them down to talk.
Now, we’ve had these conversations before about strangers and inappropriate touching, but this time it was different. I believe this was because they had something physical in front of them to further support the fact that these types of bad things actually do happen, and that there are kids, in our area, that suffer because of it.
As a parent, it’s quite difficult to look into the eyes of your innocent children and warn them of the evils in the world- but unfortunately, it’s completely necessary. We had a long discussion on child abuse- what it is, and what they should do if they or someone they know is being affected by it.
We talked about inappropriate touching, hitting, and neglect. We talked about the signs of abuse and why it’s important to tell someone.
I believe that my eldest understood the purpose of our activity. As her face went from excitement (to do a craft), to an unsure stare it was heartbreaking, but again, completely necessary. My younger one, who often tries to think of things logically, couldn’t understand who or why someone would do this to kids. Like it wasn’t real- and part of me was right there with him.
But as much as they needed to hear it, so did I- and I’m glad I did. As much as we want to protect our children from the evils of the world- we need to realize that sometimes the most powerful way to do that is through knowledge.
Want to have a talk with your child but unsure of where to start? Here are some suggestions from the ChildSafe Website:
For educational resources and materials on their site, including 10 Signs of Abuse, visit: http://www.childsafe-sa.org/training/resources/
For more information on ChildSafe, and how you can help, please visit: http://www.childsafe-sa.org/about-us/Our_History.html
On April 6th, you’ll see cardboard kids pop up all over San Antonio to represent child abuse victims in Bexar County. I ask that you take the time to talk to your kids and raise awareness about child abuse, so we can change these statistics for the better!!
Take pictures of these cardboard kids and post them to social media with the hashtag #CarboardKidsSA to spread awareness.Thousands of #CardboardKidsSA will appear April 6 to rep child abuse victims in Bexar Co.… Click To Tweet
Do you have a story to share? What are your thoughts on these staggering statistics and how do you plan to help? Please Comment below: