Research shows the majority of child abusers are the children’s very own parents or guardians.
Child abusers neglect, abuse and/or abandon their children for a number of reasons. Many were mistreated by their own parents and are simply perpetuating the cycle. They’ve never learned to properly raise a child. Some live in a high-stress environment, where illegal drugs, alcohol and violence are problems. One recent study revealed that in 70 percent of child maltreatment cases, the abuser is drinking alcohol.
Young children are the most likely to be abused. Eighty percent of victims are age 5 or under. Children in the first year have the highest rate of victimization..
How do we end child abuse? First we must teach children to tell on anyone who tries to touch them inappropriately. Children must be taught personal body safety and to have the courage to tell a trusted adult. Passing Erin’s Law in 20 or more remaining states will require school districts to teach children, just as they teach them not to do drugs, tornado safety and more. Already children are speaking up all across America and child abusers are being arrested.
A massive educational effort is needed to teach parents, family members, educators and adults the warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and how to report it.
Finally, our foster care and CPS systems must be overhauled to ensure children are safe and taken care of properly. Research shows that most children removed from their homes for neglect/abuse, are actually less likely to be abused in their homes than in foster care. Hundreds of children are killed annually by parents, guardians and foster parents because overworked, underpaid, undertrained and exhausted CPS workers failed to investigate reports within 24 hours or failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation and remove the child in time.
Child abuse is often called the silent epidemic because the victims are either too young or too afraid to report it; neither do they know whom to tell because their own parents and guardians are the perpetrators. CPS statistics reveal about 700,000 children are confirmed child abuse victims annually. But some experts believe it is so vastly unreported that there may well be ten times as many children maltreated.