Today, Nov. 19, is the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, an international recognition that abuse – sexual, physical and neglect – exists in every country, every culture, every community and that to end this horrific scourge will require all of humanity.
In April in America, we celebrate National Child Abuse Prevention Month, but on Nov. 19, in 2000, the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF), a non-governmental organization, launched the first World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. Working alongside an international coalition of advocacy organizations for women and children’s issues, WWSF mobilized governments and societies to take action and prevent child abuse.
Other associations, including the American Psychological Association, quickly joined the coalition and developed a fact sheet, “Violence Against Children in the U.S.,” with information on violence against children in the US. It also includes tips for identifying and preventing child abuse, with an outline of the association’s contributions to child abuse prevention.
In the United States, child abuse is at “almost an epidemic level,” according to the FBI. The numbers of children being abused and/or neglected is staggering, agency officials say, veiled by a culture of secrecy and denial and fostered and aided by citizenry still uncomfortable confronting or talking about the subject.
Worldwide, the numbers are just as near epidemic. Globally, every fifth child has endured or experienced abuse by the time he or she is 18. Clearly, abuse is a universal and alarming problem and increased attention and efficient protection skills and prevention measures are necessary at the family, local, national and international levels.
Today, take a vow to help end child abuse and to protect our children. Share this with your family and friends and ask them to take the same vow – to create an international force reflecting the same will – put an end, finally, to child abuse – everywhere.