Some people think that it is the job of child protection services to stop child abuse. It is wrong to wait for child services to intervene. The problem is that usually social services will not step in until the problem becomes serious. At this point, permanent damage to the heart and mind of the child has already occurred. It is important that friends, teachers, neighbors, coaches, or any one else that notices child abuse steps up and takes a role in trying to stop the abuse.
The best way to stop child abuse is to be aware of what is going on around you with the children in your life. Listen to what they say. Watch for signs of child abuse. The most common form of abuse is emotional abuse. If you see a parent emotionally abusing their child, do something! This is wrong! It is not proper parenting to belittle a child. Keep in mind that a child is most of the time abused by their parent or a caregiver. Since they love this person, and are often afraid of them, they might not be willing to talk about the problem. You will have to look past what the child is saying to see the real problem.
Signs of physical abuse include unexplained bruises or cuts, repeated “accidents” such as falling down the stairs that leave marks, and frequent absences from school for no apparent reason. If you suspect these types of problems, get help for the family right away! Children should not be allowed to stay in an abusive situation. This is the best thing that you can do to stop child abuse—get involved!
Another thing to keep in mind about child abuse is that the children who are being abused are scared. They are scared of their abuser and scared that if they tell, the abuse will get worse. Often, they will not ask for help because they do not think anyone can help them. They may have tried to get help from their non-abusive parent, only to find that it did nothing. They are not able to trust the adults in their lives, because they associated adults with pain. So do not be surprised if they reject your attempts to help stop child abuse. Even if they reject your help, you need to step in and help!
Also, keep in mind that children who are abused do not always come from low-income homes where the family seems that they would have problems. Many middle and upper class children face abuse on a daily basis. It is often masked well because to the outside world, they look like the perfect Christian family. This is particularly true in the case of sexual abuse. Do not assume that a child is fine just because their family looks like they have it all together. If you suspect abuse, step in and find out for sure!