Prevention key to ending child abuse
April 21, 2014
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (April 17, 2014) -- The Army's 2014 Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign theme is, "Children's safety comes first - be ready to end child abuse." Fort Jackson's Family Advocacy Program, or FAP, is ready to do just that - end child abuse through education and prevention.
Not only is the act of child abuse itself bad, but the long-term repercussions from it can be devastating. Children who are victims of abuse or neglect are at higher risk for a number of negative outcomes throughout their lifespan. They are at risk for having problems in the areas of physical and mental health, cognitive development, academic achievement, and the development of healthy social behavior and relationships.
"Our idea is, first and foremost, to heighten the awareness of child abuse, that it's real and does exist," said Greg Lewis, Fort Jackson Family Advocacy Program specialist.
Studies have found that adults who experienced abuse and neglect as children have higher rates of physical and sexual assault/abuse, kidnapping or stalking, and having a family friend who is murdered or commits suicide compared to adults who did not experience maltreatment during childhood.
"We want the community to take steps ... to stamp out this terrible abuse," Lewis said. "We put out information all over the installation, pamphlets, brochures, training, taking every opportunity that we get to bring attention to the problem."
FAP provides not only training for professionals on Fort Jackson who work with children, but staff members also provide educational classes for parents. Two of these classes are Triple P Positive Parenting and ScreamFree Parenting.
"We also have a plan to go into the schools to give the children classes on child abuse, what we call child safety awareness," Lewis said, "to talk about good touch and bad touch, and what to do in a situation like that."
The Triple P Positive Parenting Program is a multilevel system of family intervention that aims to prevent severe emotional and behavioral disturbances in children by promoting positive and nurturing relationships between parent and child.
According to the developers, "the program aims to increase parents' sense of competence in their parenting abilities, improve couples' communication about parenting, and reduce parenting stress. The acquisition of specific parenting competencies results in improved family communication and reduced conflict that in turn reduces the risk that children will develop a variety of behavioral and emotional problems.
For more information on FAP classes and programs, call 751-6325.