April: National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Image of girl running in grass

Along with being the Month of the Military Child, April is also National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of the children across the globe are victims of violence every year – that’s an estimated 1 billion youth impacted by some form of violence. Youth experiencing violence are often exposed to multiple risks and vulnerabilities, not just one form of violence. And the impacts of violence on children are immeasurable, with those impacted and higher risks for physical and mental health problems and social and developmental issues. Exposure to violence impacts every aspect of a child’s life into adulthood.

The CDC also emphasizes that “Violence and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increase the risk of sexual risk-taking behaviors and HIV” (read more under What are the consequences? on the CDC’s Violence Prevention webpage). Prevention is always the goal, and the CDC evidence-based INSPIRE framework models seven strategies in reducing violence for families and children. INSPIRE – Implementation, Norms and values, Safe environments, Parent and caregiver support, Income and economic strengthening, Response and support services, and Education and life skills – are the areas of focus in this framework. A handbook on the INSPIRE model providing research, resources, and information on these seven identified areas of focus is available for download on the World Health Organization website here.  These resources can be used in work with families and children in clinical and school settings.

The focus of children impacted by problematic sexual behavior (PSB), and the normative sexual development of youth from childhood into young adults, is a conversation we have continued to expand on in the Sexual Behavior in Children and Youth (SBCY) series. Past sessions in this series include webinar presentations on:

  • Engaging and supporting families impacted by PSB
  • Supporting clients through multidisciplinary evidence-based approaches
  • Promoting healthy technology use, behaviors, and boundaries for young children and youth
  • The benefits of utilizing Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) in treatment with children impacted by the PSB of other youth
  • And approaching PSB as a preventable health problem.

Visit the series homepage to watch replays of the webinar sessions and find information on obtaining free continuing education credits for past webinars. If you would like to participate in an upcoming live session, you can also RSVP on the event pages for our upcoming webinars on Considering the Adolescent Brain when Addressing Problematic Sexual Behavior of Youth and Talking with Youth about Sex, Sexuality, and Media. 

We hope you can join us as we continue important conversations to keep kids safe and families strong during this Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month and beyond!

This post was written by the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Learn more about us at https://militaryfamilieslearningnetwork.org/family-development, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.  Subscribe to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.