ThedaCare Health Matters

Child abuse prevention requires awareness

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse is a difficult topic for me to talk about because the idea of it is just so despicable. I have to admit I feel physical symptoms of nausea when I see a report of another child or baby being abused or killed by a caretaker. However, if it is not discussed, people may not be aware of just how serious a problem it is. 

I am afraid we have become numbed by the news reports because they are so frequent. Since most of the time children cannot speak for themselves, it takes adults to recognize and report concerns.

I look at child abuse as falling into three categories. There are people who are just plain evil and knowingly abuse children by locking them in cages, physically abusing them for what they interpret as discipline, depriving them of an education, sexually abusing them or starving them. Then there are the people who are not committed to the responsibility of raising a child and put their own desires ahead of the needs of their children. The children end up harmed by lack of care and supervision. 

The third category is the caretaker who does not have the knowledge, skills and maturity to be able to deal with the demands of caring for a baby or young child and is prone to lose control and physically harm an innocent child.

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