Child maltreatment is an issue in America and it always has been, but some people don’t realize just how close to home this issue is. Child abuse in the state of Kentucky is a very big issue that we can work and must work to prevent.

The World Health Organization defines child abuse as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, or other exploitation resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity.” April is the month that is declared to be Child Abuse Prevention Month through gubernatorial proclamation. This time is used to spread awareness and to drive interest in preventing child maltreatment.

Many people do not realize that child abuse is a big problem in Kentucky. Oftentimes we like to say we know this is happening but that there is no way it is happening near us. According to the Child Protective Services (CPS) and Concurrent/Domestic Violence (CDV) reports for the state of Kentucky in the year 2018, over 50,000 CPS and CDV reports met the criteria for investigation and over 80,000 children were involved in these cases.As of 2017, the United States Census Bureau said Richmond’s population came to a grand total of 35,397. The population of Richmond is less than the number of CPS and CDV reports investigated in the state of Kentucky. These numbers are too large for us to be naive enough to believe that it is not happening near us.

When reading these statistics, many will be drawn to ask the question “how can I help make a difference?” Some people don’t believe that they have the ability to do much or that doing something is not going to help because the issue is too big for them. While the issue is much bigger than one individual person, if everyone does their part, then as a community we can make a difference.

There are several ways that you can help as an individual. Step one in making a difference is to learn the signs of child maltreatment and the laws surrounding the reporting of child abuse. By learning to detect these signs in children and families, you might be able to see a child in danger of abuse and report it to the proper authorities. Contact Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and set up an educational training event on campus or in your community. As a college student or professor, you can plan an educational event or a pinwheel planting event on campus.

According to Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, a pinwheel planting event is when people in a community come together to place blue pinwheels in a common area in honor of child abuse prevention. The blue pinwheels are a symbol of happiness and to raise awareness of child abuse prevention. Pinwheel for Prevention events are meant to bring a community together for the common interest of bringing awareness to child abuse prevention.

All of us share a responsibility to protect the children in our community in every way that we can. Taking part in child abuse prevention activities should be something we do year-round. Volunteer to mentor or tutor children in your community. Set up a training event with Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky (PCAKY) to help bring awareness to your community. Learn the signs of child maltreatment.

Child maltreatment is an issue that we have to work to prevent. It is our job to protect the vulnerable members of our community. It is our responsibility to protect the children of America. We need to start working to prevent child abuse and neglect in every way that we can. We need to start a chain reaction, and the chain reaction can start with you.

 

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