April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

Sex crimes – sexual molestation – and kids!

A scary and horrific combination!

Stacey Honowitz, a regular on HLN, CNN, Fox and MSNBC is also a leading state prosecutor with over 17 years dedicated to the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.

However most importantly one of her accomplishments is her two educational books that serve to help parents, children, advocates and others to finally talk about this difficult subject in a manner which is comfortable for everyone.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Stacey Honowitz answered a few questions:

Q)  What changes in a child’s behavior should raise a red flag for parents?

Stacey:  Some behaviors in small children are nightmares, bed wetting, a constant need to be with you, a fear when you go to change them, and a general fear of staying alone with the person after they never had a problem before. I don’t like to generalize, because some of these behaviors are indicative of other issues, but sometimes a decline of grades in older kids, and a lack of enthusiasm for things warrant a discussion. It might not be abuse, but certainly if something doesn’t sit right with you, make sure and ask if they feel uncomfortable about something and want to share it.

Q)  What sorts of behaviors from an adult should raise a red flag for parents to prohibit that adult from ever spending alone time with their child?

Stacey:  This really goes back to the first question that you asked. Sometimes a person will pursue a child by engaging in behaviors that the child will enjoy. Constant gift giving, a relationship based on “being friends” and “don’t be afraid to tell me anything” coupled with an opportunity to spend “alone” time with them.

Red flag number one, the person calls and communicates with the child by phone or computer without you being present, and constantly asks you if they can “take your child” out for the day, or that they would love to babysit while you do what you have to do. Most parents are thrilled to have an adult take such an interest in their child, but they must realize that many times there is an ulterior motive.

Q)  If a parent is suspicious of an adult’s behavior, what steps can the parent take?

Stacey:  If any parent believes that another child is being abused please do not feel like your are intruding by trying to help. Most parents later on say “I thought something was happening but it was not my place.” It is your responsibility to alert either a family member, school authority or protective services if you suspect some type of abuse either sexual or physical. If you have a relationship with that child there is nothing wrong with you questioning the child, and asking “is everything okay” or “do you need my help with anything going on at home.” Better safe than sorry is a motto that really holds water.

For more information, order Stacey’s books:

Genius With a Penis, Don’t Touch!

My Private Parts Are Private

Learn more about Stacey Honowitz on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Advertisements

Get BLUE: Be a Voice for Children that are Silenced

“GET BLUE” – NATIONAL EFFORT TO EDUCATE AMERICA DURING APRIL

April marks the 29th anniversary of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time dedicated to child abuse education, awareness and prevention activities. To observe National Child Abuse Prevention month, Love Our Children USA, (a national organization headquartered in New York whose mission is to break the cycle of violence against children) begins its ninth annual GET BLUE campaign – a national effort to educate and raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention.

The “Blue Ribbon” is the symbol for child abuse prevention. Love Our Children USA urges every person across the country to GET BLUE. By wearing a Blue Ribbon pin during April and throughout the year, we can educate families, children, neighbors and communities on how to prevent child abuse and neglect — encourage communities and individuals in recognizing and preventing child abuse, assist families in achieving healthy parenting practices through education and resources and empower individuals to report child victimization and intervene in situations where violence and neglect harm children.

To signify the importance of the month, Love Our Children USA announces the Ninth Annual National Love Our Children Day on Saturday, April 14th. Created by Love Our Children USA, National Love Our Children Day is celebrated annually to honor children, strengthen families and raise awareness for efforts to keep children safe. Each year the day is recognized with a proclamation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

National Love Our Children Day is like Mother’s and Father’s Day for children and is celebrated across the U.S.  This day was created to acknowledge the value of children and to educate parents on the importance of giving them love, protection and respect, the three essential elements children need to become strong and successful adults. By promoting healthy and happy children and strengthening families we can keep kids safe.

To create a greater awareness Love Our Children USA has created a virtual i-Walk which will take place online during the month of April.  The awareness and funds raised will go towards parenting education programs to keep children safe and strengthen families. The i-Walk is sponsored by Karma 411, Rolemommy.com, Project You Magazine, Kenn Viselman Presents and the Oogieloves.

In just one year the number of child sexual abuse by teachers was alarming. There were five cases in New York City alone just in February and the scandal at the Miramonte School in Los Angeles shook the education community there. The Penn State and Syracuse scandals shook college campuses and all of the parents in the country who harmed or killed there children this year was tragic.

According to Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ross Ellis “Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and the unnecessary tragedies we’ve seen this past year calls for educating the public immediately and often.” Reports of child abuse nationwide have increased by 30-percent in the last 10-years. If the country thinks child abuse isn’t a problem, they need to think again. More than 3 million children are victims of child abuse each year and almost 1.8 million children are reported missing each year, many of whom are abducted from their homes and front yards. Those are only the ones that are reported.

It is of critical importance that we educate the American public and raise a greater awareness to break the cycle of violence against childrenbefore it starts,” says Ellis.

Ross Ellis said “A child’s voice is small, ignored and unheard. We must raise the volume so that everyone hears their message. Imagine if everyone in the country wore a Blue Ribbon — we could make such an impact in raising awareness to break the cycle that breaks children’s hearts, spirits and lives. We must protect our children instead of protecting the people who are supposed to be protecting our most innocent. ”

 National Child Abuse Prevention Month is not only a timely opportunity to remind ourselves of our collective responsibility to protect America’s children and strengthen America’s families, but it is time to accelerate education and awareness of this very public epidemic and make our children a priority NOW. The country, our communities, concerned citizens, and even youth must work together to break the cycle.

###

 About Love Our Children USA   

Love Our Children USA™ is the leading national nonprofit and ‘Go-To’ prevention organization fighting all forms of violence against children in the U.S. Since 1999, it has broken ground in preventing violence against children. Love Our Children USA teaches effective parenting solutions by creating valuable programs that empower positive changes in parenting and family attitudes, bullying and cyberbullying prevention, Internet safety and school violence prevention through public education. The goal of Love Our Children USA is Keeping Children Safe® and strengthening families.