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Statistics and Prevention

Statistics

There were over 693,174 victims of child abuse and neglect in the United States in 2009. Some children were victimized more than once.

29,976 of the substantiated cases occurred in Michigan.

1,676 children died nationwide as a direct result of child abuse and neglect in 2009.

87% of perpetrators of child abuse and neglect are parents or other relatives.

Nation-wide, there were 60,564 substantiated victims of sexual abuse in 2009

The numbers above reflect reported and substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect. In fact many experts believe the actual number of incidents are three times higher than noted above.

Statistics indicate 1 in every 5 children will be abused or neglected by the time they turn 18.

Prevention

Become educated on the issues of Child Abuse and Neglect :

Understand the Problem
Understand the Terms
Understand the Causes

  • Most parents don’t hurt or neglect their children intentionally. Many were themselves abused or neglected.
  • Very young and inexperienced parents might not know how to take care of babies or what they can reasonably expect from children at different stages of development.
  • Circumstances that place families under extraordinary stress – poverty, divorce, sickness, disability – sometimes take their toll in child maltreatment.
  • Parents who abuse alcohol or other drugs are more likely to abuse or neglect their children.

Support Programs that Support Families

Parent education, community services, respite care services, counseling can all help protect children by addressing circumstances that place families at risk. Donate your time or money, if you can. Think of ways you or your parish can help.

Learn What Resources are Available to Assist Families in Your Community

Do you know who provides counseling services? What support groups are available for various circumstances? How to access the local food pantry? Is there a Domestic Violence Shelter? Are there options for transportation services? Low cost, safe, after school or day care facilities? Respite services? Do you know where to refer someone who needs help?

Report suspected abuse and neglect:

Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect may save a child’s life. In most circumstances you can remain anonymous. By Michigan law, all reports are strictly confidential. If you are wrong in your suspicion, you have erred on the side of protecting children. But what if you are right?

Spread the word.

Tell others what you have learned.

Strengthen the Fabric of Your Community:

Know your neighbors and the name of their children and make sure they know yours. Give stressed parents a break by offering to watch their children. Volunteer. All activities that strengthen communities – services to civic clubs, participation on boards and committees – ultimately contribute to the well being of children.

Be aware and use available tools:

  • Does a child have unusual bruises, burns or injuries?
  • Be aware of who is hanging around the neighborhood, the school, the parish who doesn’t seem to belong.
  • Does an adult seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time with children or seem to be more excited to be with them as opposed to other adults.
  • Does an adult seem to be frequently with children in a more secluded area?
  • Are children being given gifts or money without permission or being told to keep secrets with adults?
  • Does someone seem to be going “overboard” touching children – kissing hugging or tickling even when a child does not want this affection?
  • Does an adult offer children or teens alcohol or drugs, special favors, or allow them to do things which are normally “against the rules?”
  • Does an adult seem overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen, or does an adult frequently walk in on children or teens in the bathroom?
  • Does an adult regularly offer to babysit many different children for free or wants to take children on overnight outings alone?
  • Do you know who your kids are spending time with and their families?
  • Use available online tools, such as the Michigan Sex Offender Registry or Family Watchdog. There are also many sites devoted to education and preventing child abuse and neglect.

Of course, none of these are conclusive proof anything is wrong, but they may point to a need to have a discussion with the adult in question about their behavior with children.

Protect yourself:

Follow the Diocesan Protocols for Ministry with Minors and avoid putting yourself in situations where you are alone with a child.

Be ready in an emergency:

Know what to do if you suspect child abuse or neglect.

Prevention begins at home:

Remember that prevention, like many positive things, begins at home. Take time to honestly re-evaluate your own parenting skills. If you could benefit from some help, seek it – getting help when you need it is an essential part of good parenting skills. Take care of yourself. It’s OK to say “no” to events. Learn to make priorities and eliminate the unnecessary tasks in your life.

Remember “Children Learn What They Live.” They are watching you at every moment and taking their cues for their own life from you.

Observe your own children. Make sure you have open lines of communication so they feel safe to tell you when something isn;t right and they will feel confident you will believe them. Make use of books, videos and other resources to help educate your children about how to stay safe. There are many resources available in the lending library of Diocesan Rose Resource Center to borrow which can be mailed to you. Contact us at 989.732.5147.