Child Maltreatment: 5 Ways to Prevent It

T. K. HBHE 680 2 Comments

In February, news headlines featured the tragic story of a 9-year-old girl who died from dehydration after being forced to run for three hours as a punishment. Her crime? Lying about eating a candy bar. This story parallels another headline-making case from April 2010, in which 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun was fatally beaten in Linden, Michigan for accidentally wetting his pants.

Not only is child maltreatment a form of violence in itself, it also contributes to several negative outcomes among victims, such as substance abuse, mental illnesses, and early pregnancy. Additionally, children who have been physically abused are more likely to perpetrate aggressive behavior and violence later in their lives.

This problem is especially prominent in Genesee County. After Wayne County, Genesee has the next highest amount of confirmed child abuse cases in the state.

Five ways to prevent child maltreatment in your community:

  • Reach out and provide support to your neighbors. Start a babysitting co-op or organize neighborhood gatherings
  • Become familiar with signs of maltreatment and report suspected cases to your local police department
  • Take a couple hours a month to volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program
  • Encourage schools, community organizations, and libraries to produce a directory of  local resources
  • The most influential way you can help is to support efforts that strengthen communities by creating safe, stable, and nurturing environments. Attend city council or school board meetings and let them know how parks, strong schools, and supportive services can help strengthen families.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Make a commitment to promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of children in your community. As the proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Be sure to do your part.


Comments 2

  1. I think that this is great insight on child abuse and the cycle that surrounds it. I rather enjoy the third bullet, “take a couple hours amonth to volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program.” I believe that this is an important aspect that is often overlooked. Often times people do not know the severity of the issue. I believe that this would be a great eye opener. My only question would be how to get that person there, but barriers are nothing new. The next bullet is also amazing. Taking the schools and communities and empowering them, making them responsible, and increasing their agency is a great way to spread the word about child abuse and change the social norms and attention that it receives.

    1. Nice post. I didn’t realize that the child abuse rates were so high in Genesee County. These cases are so tragic, as well as all of the other instances of child maltreatment that occur in society. These tips are great advice, and hopefully they can help raise awareness of this issue in communities. Being proactive in prevention of child maltreatment is an important component of reducing this problem, and hopefully everyone can and will step in to do their part in helping.