Lauren Dean: Raising awareness of child abuse

Published: Monday, April 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 11:38 p.m.

This month marks the 30th year of the U.S. presidential proclamation of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each April, Child Abuse Prevention Month activities are held in local communities to raise awareness about the problem.

The goal is to rally your community to understand what they can do to prevent abuse and neglect in their own hometowns. The dream of safe and stable families can only be realized by society and individuals coming together, taking responsibility and offering support to families in need.

Abuse and neglect are far more reaching than you might imagine. No socioeconomic group is immune; children of all races and ethnicities are victims of child abuse. The youngest children are most vulnerable, although children of all ages can suffer the effects of child abuse and neglect.

There are many ways that you and your own community can help to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect. Some of these creative ideas may be used only during the month of April; others may be employed all year round.

The simplest of all may be to hold a blue ribbon campaign; wear the ribbon to let others know that you care about preventing abuse. Involve your local church; organize an informational seminar to help your congregation and the local public to understand the issues of abuse and neglect.

Volunteer for a local organization or domestic violence shelter to help ensure the healthy development of children and families. Encourage local legislators; let them know you vote and that you care about issues affecting children and families.

Involve your local schools, civic groups and fraternal organizations, to raise funds and awareness about child abuse prevention efforts for their own community. Support the efforts of in home parent education programs that focus on the prevention of abuse and neglect. Extend support to a family in need.

Eliminating child abuse and neglect depends on all of us! Do all that you can in your community to have a voice for the youngest and most vulnerable of our citizens. By building on the strengths of parents and offering support and services, we can all make a difference in ending child abuse.

The Child Abuse Prevention Project has been diligently working in the North Central Florida area to prevent child abuse and neglect through an effective home visitation program for 30 years. Join us, take action, before it is too late, to ensure that children and families grow together in safety and in love. For more information call (352) 334-1330 or toll free (800) 256-7455.

Lauren Dean is clinical coordinator of the Child Abuse Prevention Project.

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