April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Just as the crocuses, daffodils, and tulips announce spring, nonprofits, government agencies and community members plant blue and silver pinwheels to acknowledge Child Abuse Prevention month.

Unfortunately, there has been a 6% rise in child abuse and neglect between 2014 and 2018. According to Prevent Child Abuse Utah, 1 in 10 children will be abused nationally. Last fiscal year in Utah DCFS received 42,428 reports of child abuse, nearly 12,000 of those were substantiated.

Children are at heightened risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence amidst intensifying containment measures for COVID-10, according to UNICEF. One contributing factor to increased child abuse is domestic violence. Domestic violence causes harm to both adults and the children who are exposed to it. Economic challenges and the power and control dynamics underlying domestic violence relationships are exacerbated by the Stay at Home orders necessary to combat COVID-19.  Unfortunately, child abuse is on the rise.

Utah DCFS: Number of reports of children being abused and neglected on the rise

Recognize the Signs of Child Abuse

Recognizing the signs of child abuse is key to prevention and intervention. There are four kinds of child abuse: physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. These types of child abuse fall into to two categories: acts of commission, causing hurt or harm on purpose or acts of omission, not providing the basic needs for a child such as food shelter, supervision, medical attention. 

CDC on Child Abuse and Neglect

Signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect vary with the age of the child and the type of abuse they may be experiencing.  Below are a few key behaviors.

  • Infants excessive crying or developmental delay
  • Fear, anxiety, clinging
  • Phobias
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems
  • Bed wetting
  • Social withdrawal
  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor concentration/distractibility

In Utah, every adult over the age of 18 is a mandatory reporter of child abuse. This means that reporting is required when any person has a reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect.

Mandatory Reporting Requirements

If a child is in immediate danger call local police. If abuse is suspected contact the Division of Children and Family Services(DCFS)  or call

Look for our Child Abuse Prevention Pinwheel Garden at the Olympic Welcome Plaza.