Battle continues against child abuse

Child abuse leaves a permanent scar on its victims.

Children don’t know why they are being abused. It is even sadder when abuse is the only way of life they know.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Jefferson County Job and Family Services, Children Services Division, responded to 1,500 suspected child abuse reports in 2013. Only about 20 percent of the calls are substantiated.

Child abuse is everyone’s business.

About 70 percent of children who die from child abuse are under 4. They can’t make the call, so somebody else has to do it. There is a report of child abuse nationwide every 10 seconds.

Between one-third to two-thirds of child abuse cases involve substance use to some degree.

In one study, children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs were three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from families without abuse. Locally, the children services division has seen an increase in child abuse cases involving drug addiction.

The scars of child abuse in families with substance abuse is evident. As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children.

More than a third of adolescents with a report of abuse or neglect will have a substance use disorder before their 18th birthday, three times as likely as those without a report of abuse or neglect, according to one study.

The cycle of child abuse continues when the abused child grows up and becomes a parent. About 30 percent of abused and neglected children will abuse their own children.

The cycle must be broken, and it takes a community to protect a child.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, don’t hesitate to call the police or children services. Inaction may result in injury or even death. It is better to make the call instead of waiting. Children services or the police will investigate and take appropriate action if necessary.

Nobody likes to see a child crying. They should be happy. But there are parents or partners of single parents who don’t care about that.

Maybe they themselves were abused when they were a child.

The caseworkers at children services have a difficult job. It can be mentally exhausting to deal with children who are hurt because of abuse and neglect.

Every one of us can make their jobs easier by helping to report child abuse and neglect to authorities.

It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.