What is Child Abuse?
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child. During this month, we encourage everyone to reflect on ways to support and help strengthen military families. To emphasize how vital community support is to child abuse prevention, this year's theme is "Strong Communities Stregthen Families." To support this mission, community members must - Be Informed, Be Attentive and Be Supportive.
Child abuse is the physical or sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment or neglect of an unmarried person under 18 years old. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C.A. §5106g), as amended and reauthorized by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum: "Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."
If you believe or suspect that, a child is being abused or neglected, call your local Child Protective Services or law enforcement. The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) staff at your local Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) can assist you as well.
Child safety is a shared community responsibility. In order for our communities to thrive, we must all do our part to support the well-being of children and families. Communities must begin to recognize the different behaviors and life circumstances that may signal a need for assistance.
Below is a list of circumstances that frequently require support for new parents and families with young children:
- Birth of a child during deployment
- Single active-duty parent with young children
- Relationship problems – spouse or co-parenting conflict
- Parent and child bonding challenges
- Abrupt changes that negatively affect family finances
- Medical issues for a parent or child
- Family isolation
- Family crisis
- Infant deaths caused by accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed have increased sharply
All families with young children need support to help maintain a safe, stable and nurturing home. For military families with young children, the deployment cycle can be a very trying time. This is why it’s important for parents to stay connected to their family, friends and command leadership.
Below are a few suggestions on how communities can offer support without being intrusive:
- Initiate positive conversations with young parents.
- Talk with parents about their hopes and goals for their children.
- Help parents identify their needs.
- Share self-care strategies that you have used when feeling overwhelmed.
- Acknowledge parents’ frustrations and recognize their efforts to address the issue.
- Establish and maintain consistent contact with young parents through routine telephone calls, texts or emails.
- Keep a watchful eye on the children in your neighborhood.
- Listen to parents when they tell you about their challenges.
- Keep a watchful eye on babies to ensure that they sleep on their backs and on firm bedding.
All parents experience stress while raising young children, especially during the infancy and toddler stages; however, too many parents refuse to ask for help. Therefore, we encourage the military community to become familiar with the emergency resources that are available to families in times of need.
Below is a list of available resources:
- American Red Cross
- Base Chaplain
- Base Clinic
- Base Security
- Clinical Counseling
- Military Hospital
- Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society
- New Parent Support Program
- Ombudsman Program
- Transitional Compensation
- Victim Advocacy
For additional information on the programs listed above, contact the New Parent Support Home Visitation Program (NPSHVP) located at your local Fleet and Family Support Center. To find the installation closest to you, go to www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil.
- Abuse and Neglect Indicators
- How to Report Suspicion of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Ways to Build Community and Hope during CAPM
- Building Community Building Hope
- Learn more about Talia's Law and how you can save children's lives
Find your Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) 2019 Marketing Materials click HERE.