Each year in the U.S., approximately 6.6 million children are involved in referrals to child protection agencies, according to research conducted by childhelp.org. This statistic is startling, and the numbers become even more startling when the rates of fatalities, mental disorders and financial impacts are also brought into the picture.
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Although most Hardin-Simmons University students do not really fall into the category of “children” anymore, the likelihood that most students either know someone who has fallen victim to such abuse or has suffered that abuse themselves is high. For those who have not suffered, the prevalence of child abuse is probably not something that they think of often. Raising awareness of child abuse tragedies which take place every day is important to decrease the number of child abuse victims.
Abilene has taken active steps to fight these tragedies using law enforcement resources. According to the Abilene Police Department website, “The mission of the Abilene/Taylor County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is to work together with our community to promote hope and healing for child abuse victims and provide support for non-offending caregivers.”
Eliminating such a widespread problem may seem daunting, but that does not make it less necessary. Fighting against child abuse is a moral and legal duty, as well as a Biblical one for those who are followers of Christ. The Bible has many verses which either directly or indirectly urge us to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV) is just one example.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
This verse focuses mainly on those who are not financially able to fend for themselves, but the sentiment should be considered the same for those children who are victimized by abusers. One way that everyone can take a stand is by following the “See something, say something” policy. This just means that if you see something unsafe or suspicious, say something about it. Child abuse suspicions can be reported to the Abilene Police Department or the Statewide Child Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400.
For more information about child abuse statistics, National Child Abuse Awareness Month and what you can do to raise awareness, click here to visit the Prevent Child Abuse America website.