April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child Abuse Prevention Month raises awareness nationally and encourages families and communities to work together to learn how to prevent child abuse and neglect and why a vigilant community is the best defense to prevent and report suspected child abuse or neglect to local child protective services agencies or law enforcement.
Child Abuse is a national epidemic in the United States. Approximately 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the last year. Nationally, a child abuse report is made every 10 seconds. In Ohio, a child is abused and every 30 minutes.
It is important for the community to know the Warning Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect to better understand how to prevent it, what to do and how and where to report child abuse when observed or suspected.
Child abuse and neglect is any harm, potential to harm or a threat of harm brought to a child. Always take it seriously when a child speaks about being abused or if suspected.
There are four main types of child abuse and include:
Physical Abuse: intentional use of physical force that can result in physical harm such as: hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child. (Source: CDC)
Sexual Abuse: involves pressuring/forcing a child to engage in sexual acts including fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities. (Source: CDC)
Emotional Abuse: refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being such as name-calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening. (Source: CDC)
Neglect: failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs such as housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care. (Source: CDC)
How to Report:
If a child is in immediate danger: CALL 9-1-1.
Ohio Report Hotline: 855-O-H-CHILD (855-642-4453), an automated telephone directory that will link callers directly to a child welfare or law enforcement office in their county.
Mahoning County Report Line Available 24/7: 330.941.8888
Not in Mahoning County? Contact the Public Children Services Agency in the County where the Child Resides.