Although April was prevention of child abuse month, child abuse continues throughout our state. In Hawai‘i, approximately 6,000 cases of child abuse are reported annually. The Children’s Justice Center in the state of Hawai‘i receives on average about 1,200 reports of sexual abuse per year. Of these victims, 75 percent are female and 25 percent are male.
Everyone can play a role in preventing child abuse. Join community prevention efforts, and take action to ensure that the children in your community are safe.
10 ways to help prevent child abuse:
• Be a nurturing parent.
Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams.
• Help a friend, neighbor or relative.
Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.
• Help yourself.
When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control — take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.
• If your baby cries …
It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry. Learn what to do if your baby won’t stop crying. Never shake a baby — shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.
• Get involved.
Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.
• Help to develop parenting resources at your local library.
• Promote programs in school.
Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.
• Monitor your child’s television and video viewing.
Watching violent films and TV programs can harm young children.
• Set routines and appropriate limits.
Routines will help your child feel in control and secure and limits should not be too strict or too loose.
• Report suspected abuse or neglect.
If you have reason to believe a child has been harmed, call your local police department.
The Children’s Justice Center provides a warm, homelike setting where children can feel comfortable and safe while being interviewed about reports of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse, and as witnesses to crimes. The intent of the video tape is to reduce trauma to the victim by reducing the number of times children are required to retell/recall their abuse.
The CJC is partnered with and supported by a non-profit board, the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center. The “Friends” are dedicated to provide support to the CJC and to the well-being of children and youth who have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse or have been severely neglected.
“Needs Enhancements” are also provided by the “Friends” for these children. Any professional working with the child can submit a request to the FCJC for enhancements. These requests range from assistance with health, education, recreation and self-esteem. Over the past 16 years the FCJC has provided thousands of children with enhancements to support and help the child and family to begin the healing process.
The Friends of the Children’s Justice Center is hosting its second annual fundraiser on Aug. 1. The theme is “Treasure our Children — Hawaiian Style.” This will be held at Kauai Lagoons Tennis Courts near the Marriott. There will be food, live entertainment and a silent auction.
For more information about the fundraiser contact Greg Meyers at 632-2444, Sue Strickland at 651-4694, or Anna Peters at 632-2114.
FCJC Board Members include Greg Meyers, Sue Strickland, Tom Lodico, Anna Smithwick, Mike Smith and Anna Peters.
• This article is provided by the Kaua‘i Good Beginnings Council Public Awareness Committee comprised of PATCH, Healthy Start, Department of Education.