Show support for child abuse prevention

If you have children you should take care of them. They should be loved, nurtured and disciplined. They should never be abused.

It’s sad that we even have to make such statements; and it’s sadder still that thousands of parents don’t adhere to what should be the most innate of actions within a mother or father.

Unfortunately, in today’s society, child abuse is rampant, and it comes in many forms.

The sad statistics make the case:

• In 2015, an estimated 1,670 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States.

• In 2015, Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country served more than 311,0002 child victims of abuse, providing victim advocacy and support to these children and their families.

• Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually. An estimated 683,000 children (unique incidents) were victims of abuse and neglect in 2015, the most recent year for which there is national data.

• Child Protective Services protects more than 3 million children. Approximately 3.4 million children received an investigation or alternative response from child protective services agencies. 2.3 million children received prevention services.

• The youngest children were most vulnerable to maltreatment. Children in the first year of their life had the highest rate of victimization of 24.2 per 1,000 children in the national population of the same age.

• Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment. Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, three-quarters suffered neglect; 17.2 percent suffered physical abuse; and 8.4 percent suffered sexual abuse.

• About four out of five abusers are the victims’ parents. A parent of the child victim was the perpetrator in 78.1 percent of substantiated cases of child maltreatment.

Here at home, in Sampson, the statistics tell the same sad story:

• In 2015, 125 cases of child abuse were investigated

• In 2016, there were 135 abuse cases, of which 104 were sexual abuse and 31 involved severe physical abuse

It’s unfathomable how anyone can hurt or neglect a youngster, yet it happens all the time. And the abuse comes in different forms — from drug-addicted parents who leave their children unattended and unclean to those who use their fists to discipline children, and every unimaginable thing in between.

With the horrors children see, the obscenities and demoralizing actions they fall prey to and the physical abuses heaped upon them, is it any wonder society sees the fallout by way of increased drug addiction, suicides and a plethora of criminal actions?

This month is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a 30-day period where those with the local Child Advocacy Center and the Department of Social Services try to raise community awareness of the problems that exist right under our noses. There will be a plethora of activities, some of which begin Friday with the planting of a pinwheel garden at the Milling Around art. That event begins at 10 a.m.

We hope our community will show its support for their efforts, wearing blue to honor child abuse prevention, planting a pinwheel to say that all children do, indeed, deserve a great childhood. By doing so you will also be showing your compassion for abused children, letting them know that our community wants the best for youngsters and will work together to ensure that the number of child abuses cases here go down rather than up.