While child abuse is a difficult subject to talk about – the need is too great to keep quiet. In 2013, nearly 18,000 children in Kentucky were identified as victims of child abuse.
Kosair Charities launched the Face It Movement in 2013 in response to the increasing number of child abuse deaths in Kentucky. The focus of Face It is “to stop and prevent child abuse for all children in Jefferson County by 2023.”
UofL Pediatrics is one of the many Face It partners in the area.
Currently Face It is working on the following solutions to end child abuse:
- Educate professionals who regularly interact with children to recognize early warning signs and know how to report child abuse.
- Create and strengthen policies that improve government systems and put protections in place to prevent child abuse.
- Educate the public and community members through rallies, events, and the media on how they can help end child abuse.
- Support parents with resources to reduce stress and create strong families.
According to Family & Children’s Place, “child abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver, through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child.” There are many forms of child maltreatment and abuse:
- Physical abuse: Physical abuse of a child occurs when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child. Physical abuse includes striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured it is abuse. Physical discipline from a parent that does not injure or impair a child is not considered abuse; however, non-violent alternatives are always available.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse occurs when an adult uses a child for sexual purposes or involves a child in sexual acts. It also includes when a child who is older or more powerful uses another child for sexual gratification or excitement. Sexual abuse of children may include non-contact abuse, making a child view a sex act, inappropriate sexual talk, contact abuse, forcing children into sexual acts, child prostitution and child pornography.
- Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm. While a single incident may be abuse, most emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes damage over time. Emotional abuse can include rejecting or ignoring, shaming or humiliating, terrorizing or isolating.
- Child neglect: Child neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety and well-being. Child neglect may include physical neglect and inadequate supervision, emotional neglect, medical neglect and educational neglect
If you suspect a child may be abused or in danger, notify the police or Child Protective Services immediately. Kentucky’s Child Abuse Hotline is (800) 752-6200. In Indiana, that number is (800) 800-5556. All callers have the right to anonymity.
If you’d like to learn more about how to help Face It, visit faceitabuse.org or follow Face It on social media: Facebook: facebook.com/faceitabuse Twitter: twitter.com/faceitabuse YouTube: youtube.com/faceitabuse.