President Donald Trump declared April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The White House emphasized the role of the family in reducing the risk factors.
But what are these risk factors and what threats to safety do children face? What are the long-term effects of abuse in children?
The president called upon American families to be alert, aware and well-informed when it comes to children's well-being. In a White House statement to mark Child Abuse Awareness Month, Trump wrote, "The best child abuse prevention program is a strong family with well-equipped, mature, and child-focused parents."
Child abuse involves not the just physically, emotionally or sexually harming children. It is also child abuse when a parent or caregiver neglects to provide food, shelter, clothing and education, as per The Tennessean.
Children face four areas of child abuse risks among family members, adults, their peers and their environment. The family living in poverty, amid exposure to violence and substance abuse, creates an environment that raises the child's risk. A parent who brandishes harsh parenting also perpetuates the abuse.
The formative years are crucial to children as this is when they develop strong self-esteem and good mental health. If they experience abuse at this stage, the effects will carry on in their adult life. Abused children often end up with emotional issues like anxiety and depression, post-traumatic stress, a tendency for violence and substance abuse problems.
Families, especially parents, are responsible for fostering and ensuring their children grow up in a happy, positive and loving environment. The kids need to see and feel their home is the safest place.
If families or parents also suspect child abuse, they must not hesitate to report this to authorities or concerned agencies to stop the abuse and save a child's life. Become a voice to child abuse victims and speak up about this issue to help raise awareness.