Preventing Child Abuse
Millions of children annually are victims of some form of child abuse, and the most staggering part of that statistic is that a great many of these incidents can be prevented. Obviously the vast majority of cases are family related and fall into the following categories: physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect.
The first step is to look at what is happening in the family. Are there issues related to parents, guardians or older siblings that need to be addressed? More often than not, the answer to that question is yes.
Among the many issues that can lead to child abuse are poverty, lack of education, marital problems, family violence, loneliness and social isolation, unemployment, unusually high expectations for the child, depression, alcohol or drug abuse, low self-esteem, pressure at work, having been abused as a child, weak parenting skills and more.
It is a cycle that is extremely hardy to break. Some studies show that as many as 80 percent of family child abusers were abused themselves.
So what’s the first step to stop this tragic cycle? As is the case with most other issues, the abuser needs to recognize that they need help. It’s rare that happens on its own. Generally other family members or outside sources need to step in to break the cycle. Helping others to question their behavior opens the door to change.
That’s where professional help comes in. For the vast majority of cases, there are underlying issues that need to be examined so the abuser can change behaviors. It’s not easy but it is possible. If you believe someone you know is abusing a child, take the necessary steps to help them begin the process of change.