The statistics for child abuse are alarming. Every five hours a child dies from abuse or neglect in the United States.
- 48% of abused children are boys
- 52% of abused children are girls
- 45% of abused children are white race
- 22% of abused children are African American race
- 22% of abused children are Hispanic race
- Abuse and Neglect of American Children Has Increased 134% Since 1980
- Physical Abuse Has Increased 84% Since 1980
- Sexual Abuse Has Increased 350% Since 1980
- Emotional Abuse Has Increased 333% Since 1980
- Child Neglect Abuse Has Increased 320% Since 1980
A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder by Karen Spears Zacharias was written while Zacharias served as the writer-in-residence at the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, Fairhope, Al. It is the true crime tale of the murder of Karly Sheehan of Corvallis, Oregon. Child abuse and this book were the topic for the Diane Rehm Show on NPR 4/25/12. June 5th, 2005 a three year old girl was tortured and killed. Her name was Karly Sheehan. The boyfriend of Karly’s mother is serving time for the murder. Karen Spears Zacharias tells the story of Karly’s life and death. She questions why others who could have and should have protected the little girl didn’t. The story of Karly Sheehan and the urgent need to better protect all children from abuse.
This radio program brought to mind all the abused children I’ve seen in the ER over my years of nursing. One case that will never leave my mind was a Native American baby thrown to the side of the road in the middle of the hot summer. The baby was extremely dehydrated and couldn’t move. There were third degree burns as well as abrasions on the majority of its body. Parents, health care workers, educators, care-givers of all types and family members need to be vigilant and seek help for those who cannot speak for themselves. Keep in mind that by reporting suspected abuse or neglect, you may prevent a child from suffering serious injury, severe lifelong emotional problems, or even death.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. If an individual has any reason to suspect that a child is being subjected to physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect, there are many different places in which an individual can effectively report child abuse. You can report suspected child abuse by calling the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). List of State Child Abuse Hotlines.
The behavior of children may signal abuse or neglect long before any change in physical appearance.
Abused children may seem:
- Nervous around adults or afraid of certain adults
- Reluctant to go home (coming to school early or staying late)
- Very passive and withdrawn or aggressive and disruptive
- Tired a lot or they may complain of nightmares or not sleeping well
- Fearful and anxious
Reference materials and Resources on Child Abuse
- Administration for Children and Families
- Federal Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse & Neglect
- Child Abuse Statistics, Research and Resources
- Child Maltreatment
- Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics
- National Child Abuse Statistics
- Children’s Alliance
- Child Advocates
Save A Child!