Social media effort aims to halt child abuse

By Kristy D. Carter - [email protected]

In an effort to help raise awareness of child abuse and prevention efforts, the Sampson County Department of Social Services is inviting families throughout the community to take part in the “Tie One On” campaign this Monday, April 23.

Participants are being asked to take the Ugly Tie Challenge and done those ugly ties that are hanging in the back of the closet. Once tied, take a picture and post it to the Sampson County Child Advocacy Facebook page or on Instagram at sampsoncountyCAC and use hastags #sampsoncountyCAC and #sampsonties.

Child abuse remains prevalent in Sampson County. In fact, the problem has grown. According to Shannon Blanchard with the Child Advocacy Center, every year the number of child abuse cases increases, noting that the number of child pornography dissemination cases in on an upward trend due to more children with access to phones and various social media sites.

According to Lynn Fields, program manager for adult and children services at the Sampson County Department of Social Services, the Center for Disease Control estimates that for one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (just the confirmed ones) the total lifetime cost is $124 billion, but may be as high as $585 billion.

That includes the cost of social work, police investigations, judicial costs, medical treatment, special education and productivity losses.

The first step to raising awareness is to educate. According to Fields, it’s important to understand the factors that increase risk for physical abuse and neglect. The majority of physical abuse and neglect is perpetrated by the child’s parents or primary caregivers. The second step is to support families and children and the third step is to learn the signs and symptoms of abuse. Any suspicion of abuse should be reported immediately.

“We challenge you to wear an ugly tie to help raise awareness for child abuse,” Fields explained.

Sexual abuse is estimated to affect one in four girls and one in six boys. In more than 90 percent of cases, the abuser is known to the child or their family and often in a position of trust.

“Even if you don’t wear a tie normally, put on one with a t-shirt, dress or whatever suits you best,” Fields said. “The United States has one of the worst records for child abuse among industrialized nations. We cannot change this without raising awareness and encouraging more people to be part of the solution.”

By Kristy D. Carter

[email protected]

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.