Child Abuse Prevention Month 2012 ~ Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Fundraiser in Winnemucca

In 1983, April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month was created after the U.S. Congress recognized the increasingly alarming rate children were abused and neglected and the lack of programs to prevent child abuse. Each year, child abuse and neglect awareness activities are held across the country.

In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse began as a way for a Virginia grandmother to pay tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to raise awareness her community to the tragedy of child abuse. The Blue Ribbon Campaign has since expanded across the country; many people wear blue ribbons each April in memory of those who have died as a result of child abuse and in support of efforts to prevent abuse.

April 4 is recognized nationally as the Day of Hope. This day is dedicated to remember the children whose lives have been traumatized, many lost, because of child abuse and neglect.

Unfortunately, child abuse still occurs hourly across the country. It is estimated that between 2,000 and 5,000 children die each year due to physical abuse or neglect: that is one child every four hours. According to the Office on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, Nevada ranks number 1 for child deaths by abuse. Nevada has the fourth highest rate of children who are removed from the home for abuse among the states analyzed in the 2009 Child Maltreatment Report. Over 30% of the reported victims of child abuse in Nevada were repeat victims. An abused child returned to parents without intervention has a 35% chance of being seriously re-injured.

The statistics itself can be heartbreaking, having it happen to a child you care about can be devastating. It’s not always obvious when a child is being abused, but here are some signs to watch for:

• bruises or broken bones on children not yet old enough to walk

• unexplained bruises, burns or cuts

• bald spots

• fear of adults, especially parents

• fear of physical contact

• risk-taking

• destructiveness toward self or others

• acting like a much younger child

• poor social skills

• aggression

• defiance

• clothing that may be inappropriate for warmer months to cover marks

Signs of sexual abuse may include:

• secretiveness or refusal to undress in front of others

• unusual interest in or knowledge of sexual things

• inappropriate displays of affection

• fear of a particular person or family member

• depression or withdrawal

• over-compliance

• aggression

• poor social skills

• poor school performance

• pain during urination

• difficulty in walking or sitting

• frequent vomiting

• genital or anal itching, rashes, bruising, bleeding or pain

• frequent yeast or urinary tract infections

• wetting pants or bed

Signs of emotional abuse may include:

• delay in physical or social development

• speech, sleep or eating disorders

• repetitive actions, such as rocking, sucking or biting

• lack of concentration

• lack of emotion

• lack of interest in things that child used to enjoy

• increased emotional needs

• depression or withdrawal

• aggression

• wetting pants or bed

Signs of neglect may include:

• clothing that is dirty, torn, poorly fitting or inappropriate for the weather

• sleepiness

• poor hygiene

• untreated medical or dental problems

• hoarding or stealing food

• inappropriate responsibility for younger siblings

• apparent lack of supervision

• frequent lateness or absences from school or other activities

• destructive behavior, i.e. hurting him or herself or others

• low self-esteem

• poor social skills

• learning disabilities or lower mental ability than normal for age

If a child tells you about abuse, know what to do.

• Do not act shocked – instead remain calm and accepting. Reassure the child that you believe him or her. Say that he or she did the right thing by telling you.

• Tell the child that the abuse is not his or her fault, but do not speak negatively about the abusive adult.

• Do not promise to keep the child’s disclosure a secret – let the child know that to provide help, you will have to tell another trusted adult.

• Tell the child what you will try to do to help, and what he or she may expect.

• Assure the child that things may be difficult at first, but will get better – don’t promise that the abuse will stop.

• If a child tells you about sexual abuse right after it happens, do not bathe the child or change his or her clothes.

• If you are worried about a child’s immediate safety or if the child is afraid to go home, call 911. Do not take the child home with you.

Some signs that a child is experiencing violence or abuse are more obvious than others. If you feel something is wrong, report it. Reporting suspected child abuse and being wrong about it is better than not reporting it and the child continued to be abused.

It can be a hopeless feeling to know such horrible things may be happening right in your own community. Abuse is not an easy or pleasant topic, but it’s one that needs to be addressed. The effects of child abuse can impact the victim, physically and emotionally, throughout their entire lives in harmful ways.

To help show your support to put an end to child abuse, Advocates for Victims of Abuse - Court Appointed Special Advocates (AVA-CASA) will be selling car magnets for only $3 each. The magnets come from the National CASA organization and states “I am for the Child”, “Lift Up a Child’s Voice. A Child’s Life” and “End Child Abuse” on a blue ribbon, which is the awareness color for child abuse prevention. This magnet is a great way to show your support to end child abuse!

AVA-CASA will also be having a month-long fundraiser with the help of caring community member and Scentsy Independent Consultant, Sharon Krupicka. The fundraiser will be held over the month of April and orders can be placed anytime online on Sharon’s Scentsy site ( or contact an advocate at AVA ( or 304-7007). Not only are these wonderful products, but they make great Mother’s Day gifts too! All proceeds from these fundraisers will go to provide direct services for child and victim advocacy.

National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD

For more information on child abuse prevention, please visit:

National Court Appointed Special Advocates

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Prevent Child Abuse America