Determined to raise public awareness to what many are calling the “silent epidemic,” the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children launched this week with a series of online videos reminding everyone to THINK before they act out on a child.
By starting a public dialogue and increasing awareness of this destructive behavior, it is the goal of the American SPCC to stop child abuse before it starts, stem the cycle of abuse that can run through generations, and to remind abuse survivors that they are not alone. Internationally recognized childcare advocate Jo Frost (the Supernanny) is among the celebrities who are lending their support to the cause.
The statistics are alarming: in the U.S., it is estimated that one in two children suffer from some form of abuse. One in four girls and one in six boys will report an act of sexual abuse. Equally sobering is the revelation that the U.S. leads the world in reported cases of child abuse deaths and that the actual number of abuse incidents is estimated to be significantly greater than the number reported.
“This is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about,” said Terry O’Neal, President of the newly formed non-profit. “The frightening prevalence of child abuse in the U.S. must be recognized. It is the goal of the American SPCC to bring national awareness to this growing concern.”
Society pays a high price for child abuse. People who have been impacted by abuse, neglect or bullying are likely to be burdened by shame and guilt that shapes their entire lives. Feelings of isolation, unworthiness and hopelessness frequently lead to crime, drug abuse, and a perpetuating cycle of abuse. Many abuse victims never recover and simply cannot lead normal lives. Abused and neglected children are:
- 59% more likely to be arrested for criminal behavior as a juvenile,
- 28% more likely to be arrested for as an adult, and
- 30% more likely to commit a violent crime
“Millions of child abuse victims still suffer from the aftermath of cruelty, maltreatment and neglect, even years after the abuse has stopped,” explains O’Neal “Child abuse awareness needs to start at the foundation of our country, in homes and schools, and those that have been impacted need to know they can overcome and lead productive lives. We want individuals to know they’re not alone and there is hope.”
The American SPCC was formed in January 2011 by J.E. Henningsen, who recognized child abuse as a critical problem in the United States needing to be addressed in a new way. Through national efforts, the American SPCC aims to reduce and prevent child abuse.
Click here for more information and a description of programs.