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Notice to Readers: National Child Abuse Prevention Month --- April 2006

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM). This year's theme is Safe Children and Healthy Families are a Shared Responsibility. Communities throughout the United States will be holding blue ribbon campaigns to promote healthy families, organizing educational fairs, and honoring parenting heroes.

Many cases of child maltreatment go unreported to authorities. However, approximately 906,000 children in the United States were confirmed by child protective services as being abused or neglected in 2003, a rate of 12.4 per 1,000 children (1). Of the reported cases, 5% involved emotional or psychological abuse, 10% involved sexual abuse, 9% involved physical abuse, and 61% involved neglect (1).

Persistent stress resulting from child maltreatment can disrupt early brain development and impair development of the nervous and immune response systems (2). Children who experience maltreatment are at increased risk for adverse health effects throughout their lives (e.g., suicide, obesity, smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, and certain chronic diseases) (3,4). In addition, persons who are abused as children are twice as likely to be assaulted as adults (5).

NCAPM is an opportunity to raise awareness about child maltreatment and its devastating effects. Information about child maltreatment is available online from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/injury. NCAPM materials are available online from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, at http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov.

References

  1. US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Child maltreatment 2003. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 2005. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm03/index.htm.
  2. National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Excessive stress disrupts the architecture of the developing brain. Working paper no. 3. Waltham, MA: National Scientific Council on the Developing Child; 2005. Available at http://www.developingchild.net/reports.shtml.
  3. Felitti V, Anda R, Nordenberg D, et al. Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. Am J Prev Med 1998;14:245--58.
  4. Runyan D, Wattam C, Ikeda R, Hassan F, Ramiro L. Child abuse and neglect by parents and caregivers. In: Krug E, Dahlberg LL, Mercy JA, Zwi AB, Lozano R, eds. World report on violence and health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002:59--86.
  5. Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice; 2000. Report no. NCJ 183781.



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