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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month is held each April to increase awareness about the importance of preventing child abuse and neglect. It also serves as a time to remember those who have suffered, as well as a reminder to continue the important work to help kids and Families stay safe and be strong.

What is child abuse? Child abuse is a child whose parent or legal guardian inflicts serious physical injury, creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury, or commits an act of sex abuse against the child. A person can also be guilty of child abuse if they allow someone else to do these things to that child.

FAP’s Prevention Continuum

FAP’s comprehensive prevention continuum of awareness, education, and intervention in high-risk situations reinforces the Army’s strong and continuous commitment to protect the “Total Army Family. Communities must continue to participate in successful prevention campaigns and ask its members to:

“Recognize” signs of distress and take action – is aimed at neighbors, friends, Family members, other Soldiers and Leadership, and is meant to open their eyes to the signs of risk that can lead to abuse. It is also aimed at parents so they can recognize stressors in their own lives.

“Rethink” wellness and ways to stay healthy – is aimed at the individual parent who is at low or moderate risk for abuse.

“Reach Out” for professional help – is aimed at parents considered to be ‘high risk’ for abuse who can benefit from professional help.

“Report” child abuse and neglect – is aimed at the whole community. Suspected abuse must be reported, not overlooked.

Recognizing Child Abuse

It is important to recognize and report child abuse. The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance.
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents' attention.
  • Rarely touches or looks at the parent.
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes.
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen.
  • Lacks adult supervision.
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn.
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home.

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child.
  • Denies the existence or blames the child for the child's problems in school or at home.
  • Rarely touches or looks at the child.
  • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves.
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome.
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve.
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs.
Learn more by visiting the U.S. National Library of Medicine and Child Welfare Information Gateway.


Inspire Change and Get Involved

Anything you can do to support kids and parents can help reduce the stress that often leads to child abuse and neglect. Reach out, get involved and lend a hand. You can also help Families by directing them to the Army's Family Advocacy Program (FAP). This program enhances Soldiers and their Families quality of life by offering them a variety of seminars, workshops, and counseling and intervention services.

  • Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. Draw on your own experiences to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit, run errands or just lend a friendly ear. Show you understand.
  • Be a friend to a child you know. Remember their names. Smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school. Send them a card in the mail. Show you care.
  • Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another's children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block. Show that you are involved.
  • Donate your used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.
  • Volunteer your time and money for programs in your community that support children and families, like parent support groups or day care centers.

Learn what you can do to help stop child abuse by visiting these child abuse prevention Web sites. It all begins with you!


National Children's Alliance Child Welfare Information Getaway Prevent Child Abuse Joyful Heart Foundation

Child abuse prevention requires safe communities and responsive families.

- Army Family Covenant: Keeping the Promise

Child Abuse Prevention Posters Available for Downloading (PDF)

National Child Abuse Hotline

Are you being abused or do you know a suspect a child is being abuse? Do you need to talk to someone? The 24-hour Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) is staffed with professional counselors who can give you referrals to thousands of emergency, social service and support resources. 

Featured Stories

March 28, 2014

The Army's Family Advocacy Program is making child abuse prevention the top agenda item for its service providers at Garrisons and Installations during the month of April.