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Internationally, I believe many individuals would agree that child abuse is an unacceptable behavior in various cultures and communities all over the world, though I recognize there are different viewpoints on what may be considered child abuse. 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and a time to recognize that we each can play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities.” 

I find it difficult to believe any rational person would disagree that child abuse is inappropriate behavior, but it is important for all of us as members in our community to actively take a stance against child abuse. One might agree that our community’s youth are our future, but regardless of whether you think babies are cute, children are to be cherished, kids are fun, or teenagers need our support, I hope you can stand up against child abuse. 

According to the Information Gateway, everyone can take steps to make communities more supportive of families!” Not all of us have children or youth in our lives, but all of us live in communities with families and their children, so the one thing we can ALL do is contribute towards the development of strong communities. This agency offers tips for preventing child maltreatment and abuse, and it explains how communities have a great influence in families’ lives. Just as plants are more likely to thrive in a garden with good soil and plenty of sunlight and water, families are more likely to thrive in nurturing communities.” The site describes how nurturing communities can help build strong families and thus prevent child abuse. The easiest method to engage in the development of a strong community is by meeting and greeting your neighbors. This does not require you become BFFs with them; you just need to engage in some form of positive interaction so you can feel like you can help one another. 

Another responsibility we can ALL assume is the task of reporting suspected child maltreatment. Some consider this as snitching, and there are many negative connotations associated to that. Others believe that it is not their responsibility to interfere with someone else’s matters, and that we should all mind our own business, but I encourage all of you to stand up and protect a youth who cannot do it him/​herself, and report suspected child abuse! 

Depending on your personal individual circumstances, there are many other methods whereby you can stand up against child abuse. The Information Gateway provides numerous resources on strengthening families, public awareness, creating supportive communities, and parenting resources. 

As Deputy Director at CJCJ and the Director of our Children’s Waiting Rooms Program, child abuse prevention is very important in the work we do and the message we promote. Please join us in the fight against child abuse this month, and throughout the year, to develop strong communities wherein our families and their children can flourish. 

Thank you.