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Show Notes

White House Proclamation

  • Goals
    ** Condemn and combat child abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, and online sexual exploitation
    ** Heighten awareness of risk factors
    ** Highlight importance of supporting families
  • Child abuse occurs at all socioeconomic and educational levels, and in all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds
  • Key tool for fighting child abuse is prevention

Child Abuse Statistics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • At least 1 in 7 children have experienced abuse or neglect in the past year
    ** In 2019, there were 73 million children in U.S.
    ** In 2019, 1,840 children died from abuse and/or neglect
  • Long-term economic burden of child abuse and neglect is enormous
    ** 2015 estimate – $428 billion, comparable to economic costs of strokes and Type 2 diabetes

Risk factors

  • Risk Factors for Individual Perpetrators
    ** Caregivers with drug or alcohol issues
    ** Caregivers with mental health issues, including depression
    ** Caregivers who don’t understand children’s needs or development
    ** Caregivers who were abused or neglected as children
    ** Caregivers who are young or single parents or parents with many children
    ** Caregivers with low education or income
    ** Caregivers experiencing high levels of parenting stress and economic stress
    ** Caregivers who use spanking and other forms of corporal punishment for discipline
    ** Caregivers in the home who are not a biological parent
    ** Caregivers with attitudes accepting of or justifying violence or aggression
  • Risk Factors for Families
    ** Families that have family members in jail or prison
    ** Families that are isolated from and not connected to other people (extended family, friends, neighbors)
    ** Family violence, including relationship violence
    ** Families with high conflict and negative communication styles
  • Risk Factors in Communities
    ** Communities with high rates of violence and crime
    ** Communities with high rates of poverty and limited educational and economic opportunities
    ** Communities with high unemployment rates
    ** Communities with easy access to drugs and alcohol
    ** Communities where neighbors don’t know or look out for each other and there is low community involvement among residents
    ** Communities with few community activities for young people
    ** Communities with unstable housing and where residents move frequently
    ** Communities where families frequently experience food insecurity

Role of Technology

  • Number of children using a mobile device has more than doubled in last few years
  • Parents have legitimate concerns about online safety
  • “Sad fishing” – Predators search “for kids who seem sad, lonely, or depressed based on their public profiles on a variety of social media platforms.”
  • “Online sexual exploitation”
    ** Grooming
    ** Live streaming
    ** Consuming child sexual abuse material (#CSAM)
    ** Coercing and blackmailing children for sexual purposes (“sexploitation”)

Preventative Measures

  • Child Abuse in General
    ** Individuals
    *** Caregivers who create safe, positive relationships with children
    *** Caregivers who practice nurturing parenting skills and provide emotional support
    *** Caregivers who can meet basic needs of food, shelter, education, and health services
    *** Caregivers who have a college degree or higher and have steady employment
    ** Families
    *** Families with strong social support networks and stable, positive relationships with the people around them
    *** Families where caregivers are present and interested in the child
    *** Families where caregivers enforce household rules and engage in child monitoring
    *** Families with caring adults outside the family who can serve as role models or mentors
    ** Communities
    *** Communities with access to safe, stable housing
    *** Communities where families have access to high-quality preschool
    *** Communities where families have access to nurturing and safe childcare
    *** Communities where families have access to safe, engaging after school programs and activities
    *** Communities where families have access to medical care and mental health services
    *** Communities where families have access to economic and financial help
    *** Communities where adults have work opportunities with family-friendly policies
  • Online Sexual Abuse
    ** Familiarize yourself with the apps and online services used by each child and supervise activity
    ** Open lines of communication
    ** Acknowledge importance of online interactions for children
    ** Persistent discussion of online safety over a long period time, beginning early and adjusting to age and maturity of each child
    ** Clear and reasonable rules regarding online activity, developed in conversation with each child
    ** Deploy technology to assist in child safety, but don’t expect it to replace adult supervision
    ** Assist each child in setting and adjusting privacy controls