January 2021 Young Children Newsletter

Good Morning fellow Kiwanians!

Family violence and child abuse during COV19:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported a 9% increase in calls between March 16 – when many states issued lockdown orders – and May 16 compared with the same period in 2019. Similarly, the San Antonio Police Department received 18% more calls related to family violence this March compared with March of last year, and there was a 10% increase in domestic violence reports in the same month to the New York City Police Department compared with March 2019. The Portland Police Bureau also recorded a 22% increase in arrests related to domestic violence in the weeks after stay-at-home orders.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in incidences of family violence and child abuse across the globe. Fear, frustration, uncertainty, economic hardship, increased stress levels, and barriers to resources are all contributing factors to this increase. In addition, support systems such as extended family, religious institutions, schools, and shelters have been less accessible during the pandemic, leaving victims even more isolated. The pandemic has also led to increased use of substances and an increase in anxiety and depression, which may also contribute to the risk of violence in the homes.

Family violence refers to threatening or other violent behaviors within the family that can include:

  • Physical abuse- Assaulting another person by hitting, choking, pushing, or kicking.
  • Verbal abuse- The use of abusive words to erode a persons’ self-worth and confidence.
  • Emotional abuse- Criticizing, embarrassing, shaming, and bullying another person.
  • Sexual abuse- Forcing a person into unwanted sexual activity.
  • Economic abuse- Controlling or withholding funds or documents such as identification or passports.
  • Child abuse- Physically, verbally, emotionally and sexually abusing a minor child.
  • Animal mistreatment.

According to data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), 49 States reported a total of 1,585 fatalities.

Nationally it is estimated 1,670 children died from abuse or neglect in 2015, which is 5.7 percent more than in 2011. This translates to a rate of 2.25 children per 100,000 children in the general population and an average of nearly five children dying every day from abuse or neglect

Three-quarters (74.8 percent) of child fatalities in 2015 involved children younger than 3 years, and children younger than 1 year accounted for 49.4 percent of all fatalities. 

In 80% of child abuse and neglect cases, the alleged abusers are overwhelmed, stressed parents who took their frustrations out on their own children; in other cases child abuse results because some parents were abused as children and never learned how to be a good parent. 

DO YOU KNOW APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH?

In the United States, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. A Kiwanis club could assist local events for Child Abuse Prevention Month in a variety of ways: 

Recognition event. Hold a luncheon, dinner, award ceremony or other event to publicly thank child protection workers, foster parents, a media personality or others who have made a significant contribution to preventing child abuse.

Publicity. Send press releases to local radio and television stations.

Proclamation. Work with the sponsoring organization to have government leaders issue 

proclamations supporting Child Abuse Prevention Month.

WHAT ELSE CAN KIWANIS CLUBS DO? 

• WORK WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

One of the best ways for a Kiwanis club to effect change in child abuse situations is to work with organizations already addressing the problem. In many countries there is a group dedicated to preventing child abuse through public education, such as UNICEF and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. The United States is fortunate to have chapters of Prevent Child Abuse America in most areas. Using their website, www.preventchildabuse.org, you can find your local chapter. 

• RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS

Most child abuse prevention organizations have public awareness materials that they will share with Kiwanis clubs. Rather than starting from scratch, clubs should seek-out these organizations and ask permission to use printed and video public service announcements, radio spots or art for fliers and brochures. Some also offer “op-ed” pieces that can be submitted to newspapers 

Below are two additional websites providing current information on child abuse information

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/fatality.pdf

and 

https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/

This information was sent to me by former Kiwanis International President Wil Blechman,: “approximately 1500 of these abused children die annually. Worse, yet, is the torture some of these children undergo prior to death.

Another point to be made is that in the U.S., more than three million reports are actually called in to the various state investigating agencies. While less than a million of these are confirmed, there is little question in the minds of experts in the field that there are likely a significant number which couldn’t be proven but still actually occurred. Furthermore, what reinforces this as a Kiwanis Young Children issue is the percentage of child abuse deaths that occur before the age of five.

The information suggests how much society pays in the future because of what we don’t do to prevent problems early in life. Money is wasted because we have adults who can’t function normally as a result of childhood abuse and end up in poor health, unable to learn, in jail or simply in situations where they take from society in the form of whatever safety nets are available rather than being able to provide positively to society.”

I hope your Club will consider doing a project to help prevent Child Abuse. Every child deserves to be born into a world knowing and expecting warmth, love, nourishment and security. And isn’t this what Kiwanis is all about?

Ava Adams, District Chair

Committee for Young Children

New England and Bermuda District of Kiwanis

email: faithava2008@yahoo.com

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