Since 1983, the month of April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month primarily in order to increase public awareness about child abuse and neglect, and in order to create strong communities to support children.
Prevention relies upon engaging members of the public to help endangered children.
My Crimes Against Children Bureau works closely to help educate the community about the dynamics of child abuse, and to address concerns of parents, educators and community leaders. Each Wednesday this month, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., members of this specialized bureau will be in the lobby of my office at 350 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn providing information to the public about this subject.
The following are some signs that may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained injury;
- Extreme mood changes;
- Afraid to go home;
- Consistent hunger;
- Inappropriate seasonal dress;
- Stealing food;
- Difficulty in walking;
- Poor peer relationships;
- Poor hygiene; and,
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention.
If you do suspect child abuse, report your suspicions without delay. Following an investigation, it may be concluded that the child is not being abused or neglected, but thankfully due to your call the family will finally receive much needed assistance. Any concerned citizen can report suspicions of child abuse or neglect.
The Child Abuse Hotline Number at the New York State Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment is 800-342-3720. The website for the SCR is http://www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/cps/. Of course, call 911 or your local police precinct if it appears that immediate action needs to be taken to protect the welfare of the child.