Speaking out for those who cannot speak out for themselves

GRAFTON—A staggering four million reports of child abuse and neglect are filed in the United States each year. Those four million reports involved approximately 7.2 million U.S children, with an annual estimate of 1,740 of those children dying from the abuse or neglect that they suffered. 

With an average of five children dying every day, and nearly 80 percent of the cases involve at least one parent, a Taylor County Organization is stepping in and speaking out to raise awareness about this heinous act against children, throughout the month of April.

National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month begins April 1, and the Taylor County Collaborative Family Resource Network (FRN) is taking a stand and inviting the community to join them, as they honor all those young lives that have been lost, and raise a special flag in awareness of all of those that are still suffering.

The FRN, alongside Mayor Peggy Barney, and other city officials, will be holding a flag raising ceremony at the flag pole beside the International Mother’s Day Shrine on Monday, April 2 at 4:00 p.m.

The Mayor will read a proclamation, calling on Grafton’s citizens to join the fight, educate themselves and be a part of the movement to end child abuse.

The Taylor County FRN offers informational brochures for anyone looking to learn more about how they can raise awareness and be a part of the prevention.

“The solution to child abuse begins with prevention,” announced FRN Director Cathy Coontz-Griffith.

Griffith revealed that there are warning signs for family and friends to look for. These signs can include physical injuries such as bruises, burns and broken bones.

“While all children will have the occasional bumps and bruises, these are consistent injuries and might be located in an unconventional location on the child’s body. For instance, there is not really any reasons that a baby, who is not mobile should be bruised,” she shared. “Besides the physical injuries, there are other impacts of abuse and neglect.”

Even if a child’s life is not taken by the abuse in which they suffer, the effects of child abuse are long lasting, and can include mental health issues, slower social development, taking part in high risk behavior and passing up on life opportunities, which could include educational attainment.

There are also several different types of child abuse that individuals should be made aware of, according to Griffith. Other types of abuse are sexual, emotional and neglect.

Emotional abuse refers to any behavior that will harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being, while sexual abuse is any coercion of a child to engage in sexual activity. The neglect of a child is failure to meet the child’s basic physical and emotional needs such as clothing, housing, food, education and access to medical care.

“It is important for us to know what to look for, and more importantly know what to do if any foul play is suspected,” Griffith remarked. “Reporting a suspected or known case of child abuse is a brave act that just might save a child’s life.”

In addition to the flag raising ceremony, the Taylor County FRN also provides businesses with yard signs and blue pinwheels to be displayed throughout the month of April. The pinwheel is an uplifting symbol of childhood that serves as the national symbol for child abuse prevention and is a reflection of hope, health and safety.

If you would like to join the movement to help prevent child abuse, be sure to join the Taylor County FRN on April 2, at 4:00 p.m. Give them a call at 304-265-6838, or stop by their office, located at 5 Hospital Plaza, to learn more. 

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