Child Abuse Prevention Month is each April and aims to increase awareness about the importance of preventing child abuse and neglect.

It also serves as a time to remember those who have suffered, as well as a reminder to continue the important work to help Army children and Families stay safe and strong.

"Everyone knows the saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child' and in today's day and age the things we are looking at is that it's a community effort on the installation and outside the installation," said Justin Mitchell, deputy garrison commander.

An abused child is a child whose parent or legal guardian inflicts serious physical injury, creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury or commits an act of sex abuse against the child.

Not only can a person be abusive to a child if they perpetrate any of these actions against a child in their care, they can also be guilty of abusing a child if they allow someone else to do these things to that child.

The theme of this year's campaign is "Child Abuse Prevention Requires Safe Communities and Responsive Families."

"It takes entire communities to prevent child abuse. A lot of it has to do with education and information. Talk with those who have been in the situation or are at their wit's end and don't know what else to do," said Mitchell. "Once you give them another tool in their tool kit on how to deal with child behavior issues or stress management, it makes the whole family stronger and better.

"Individuals just need to know they don't have to prove child abuse, if you witness it, report it and let the ones trained in this area become involved," he added.

For those interested in helping children and Families prevent or reduce the stress that can lead to child abuse and neglect, the first step is to direct them to the Army's Family Advocacy Program.
Be a friend to a parent. Ask how their children are doing, and draw on experiences from life to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit, run errands or just lend a friendly ear.

Be a friend to a child, remember their names, smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school, send them a card in the mail and show you care.

Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another's children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block and show that you are involved.

Donate your used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family; this can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.

Volunteer time and money for programs in the community that support children and their Families, like parent support groups or day care centers.

"Military Families are precious and we are interested to make sure we do everything we can to help our military Families to be not only resilient but to thrive in this environment," said Mitchell.

To report child abuse call the military police at 255-2222. For more information on child abuse call 255-3898 or 255-9644 or visit Bldg. 5700, Rm. 390.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16