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Community Relations Monthly E-Tip: Child Abuse Prevention Month

March E-Tip

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month across the country and it’s the perfect opportunity to have important conversations about raising awareness. Child abuse has no cultural or socioeconomic boundaries, which means abuse can occur in any demographic. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “there were an estimated 676,000 victims of abuse and neglect (during federal financial year 2016). This equates to a national rate of 9.1 victims per 1,000 children in the population.” These figures are child abuse and neglect cases that were reported and known to child protective service agencies in the U.S.

The first step to helping a child who you suspect is being abused is recognizing some warning signs, such as:

  • Frequent unexplained injuries
  • Injuries that do not match the given explanation
  • Child afraid to go home
  • Dirty or bad hygiene
  • Untreated injuries or illnesses
  • An apparent lack of supervision
  • Sexual behavior or knowledge that's inappropriate for the child's age
  • Social withdrawal

Sudden changes in a child’s behavior or appearance could also be indications that the child is experiencing some type of abuse. If you suspect a child you know is being abused, you can help by reporting it to the Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111 for non-emergencies or 911 for emergencies.

You can take part in raising awareness by participating in these countywide events:

  • April 6th – “Wear Blue for Child Abuse Prevention”
  • April 6th – Memorial Flag Raising Ceremony in Honor of Children Who have Died as a result of Child Abuse or Neglect:  8:30 a.m. in front of the Department of Human Services’ building at 100 East California Avenue.  Tragically, six children died as a result of child abuse in 2017.  This touching ceremony will honor their young lives.
  • April 29th – On Blue Sunday, churches across Kern County are asked to join churches across the nation by including a special prayer for the victims of child abuse and for those who rescue them.

Together we can protect our children from abuse and neglect!