TOPEKA – (April 12, 2011) – In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the Kansas Child Death Review Board have joined nationwide organizations to encourage Kansans to wear blue on April 15 to increase awareness of child abuse.
“Protecting our most vulnerable citizens from abuse is one of our most important responsibilities,” Schmidt said. “I encourage all Kansans to join me in raising awareness of child abuse and watching for the early warning signs of possible abuse.”
Signs that may indicate abuse is occurring in a home include parents or caregivers who lack social contact outside the family, have a drinking or drug abuse problem, or are excessively controlling or resentful of a child. Abusive parents/caregivers tend to belittle children by either directly criticizing them or using subtle put-downs disguised as humor. They rationalize their behavior as a form of discipline aimed at helping the child. Abusers also avoid talking about their child’s injuries.
Victims of child abuse can exhibit a lack of trust, are fearful or anxious about going home, have uncontrolled emotions, and lash out in anger. They may feel worthless, depressed, shameful and withdraw from others. Victims frequently have inadequately explained injuries, exhibit excessive sadness or crying and have difficulty sleeping. Children who are neglected generally have bad hygiene, wear ill-fitting or dirty clothing and have untreated injuries or illnesses. They can appear underdeveloped and malnourished and have excessive school absences.
Children regularly get bruises and bumps, especially over bony areas such as the knees, elbows and shins. However, injuries on other parts of the body, such as the stomach, cheeks, ears, buttocks, mouth, or thighs raise concerns of abuse. Black eyes, human bite marks and burns seldom come from everyday play.
“Child abuse can stem from a variety of factors,” said Angela Nordhus, executive director of the Kansas Child Death Review Board. “These factors include stress, lack of understanding of child development and behavior, parental substance abuse and mental illness. It often arises when emotions are running high and are poorly controlled.”
While physical abuse is the most visible form, other types of abuse, such as emotional, sexual and neglect also result in serious harm. Ignoring children’s needs, putting them in unsupervised or dangerous situations or creating a sense of worthlessness or being unwanted, are all forms of abuse.
To report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, call the Kansas Protection Report Center at (800) 922-5330. In cases in which the child may be in imminent danger, call 911. For additional information, visit the Child Safety page on the Kansas Attorney General's website, or call (785) 296-7970.