Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Preventing Child Abuse in Arizona

PHOTO: Reporting suspected child abuse and raising awareness of services available to help victims of abuse and neglect are the goals of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Photo courtesy of Catawba County, NC.

April 8, 2015

PHOENIX - Raising awareness about the services available to help victims of child abuse in Arizona and around the nation is one goal of a national campaign.
"National Child Abuse Prevention Month" encourages victims and others to report cases of suspected child abuse, said Rebecca Ruffner, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Arizona. About 80 percent of child-abuse cases in Arizona involve neglect," she said.
"Medical neglect, a lack of supervision - young children wandering in the street without anyone looking after them," she said. "Nutritional neglect - lack of adequate food and nutrition - is still a big problem in Arizona."
At least half of the child-abuse cases in Arizona involve children younger than age 5, Ruffner said. Signs a child might be abused, she said, include sudden changes in behavior, physical bruises and broken bones, as well an unclean or disheveled appearance.
About 70,000 cases of suspected child abuse are reported to Child Protective Services and law enforcement agencies in Arizona each year, Ruffner said. Some people are reluctant to make such reports, she said, but in her view, everyone has a moral obligation to do what they can to protect children.
"If you report, you can't be certain things will get better," she said. "If you don't report, you can almost always be certain things will get worse for that child."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, during a recent year, more than 3 million cases of suspected child abuse were reported nationwide.
More information is online at pcaaz.org.


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