8 Ways to Help Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

Helping children can be easy and doesn’t require significant changes to your routine. You can be a friend, support a new mom, or volunteer. Advocacy can happen through small acts every day. Your thoughtfulness can make a big difference in a child’s life. 

Below are several ways you can help prevent child abuse in your community: 

  1. Volunteer your time. Look for ways to get involved with organizations that support families in your community. 1-800-CHILDREN is a statewide helpline that offers support, encouragement, and information regarding resources and volunteer opportunities in local communities. Seven Counties Services also offers many opportunities for individuals to get involved in our mission and help improve the lives of families in the communities we serve. 
  2. Educate yourself and others. One of the most effective ways to prevent child abuse is to educate both yourself and others. Supporting parents and children through after-school activities, mentoring programs, parent education classes, and temporary relief programs for caregivers can greatly reduce the chances of harm. You can also make a difference by speaking up and advocating for programs and services like these in your community. 
  3. Examine your behavior. Abuse can be more than physical. Words can also be harmful. It’s important to be a nurturing parent or caregiver and show that problems can be resolved without yelling or hitting. 
  4. Know the signs. Unexplained injuries are not the only signs of abuse. Other signs that a child may be experiencing neglect or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse include depression, fear of a particular adult, difficulty trusting others or building friendships, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and aggression. These symptoms could suggest family problems. It’s very important to pay attention to them and take appropriate action for the safety and well-being of the child. 
  5. Invest in kids. Encourage community leaders to support families and ask employers and lawmakers to create family-friendly policies that protect and improve children’s lives.
  6. Discipline your children thoughtfully. When disciplining your child, it’s important to remain calm and remember that it’s a way of teaching. Use positive motivation to encourage good behavior, such as doing an activity they enjoy, and time-outs to help your child regain control and reflect on the action that put them in time-out. 
  7. Empower children. Teaching children their rights can help them understand that they are special, and they have the right to be safe. This can help them recognize abuse and report it.  
  8. Report abuse. In Kentucky, concerned citizens have a legal obligation to make a report to the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) when there is reason to believe a child is being abused or neglected. Individuals can make a report online, or by calling 1-877-595-2331. Staff are available to answer calls 24/7. If in doubt, make a call and discuss your concerns with the intake staff. The agency’s centralized intake staff is trained to assess the information they are provided, ask follow-up questions, and ensure the most appropriate screening decisions are made. If a child appears to be in imminent danger or needs immediate protection, call 911 or the local police department immediately.

Remember that by taking action to prevent child abuse and neglect, you’re not just intervening in a child’s current situation – you’re also protecting their future. Your efforts today have the power to save a child’s life and instill hope for a brighter tomorrow. Let’s continue to work together, advocate for change, and create communities where every child is valued, protected, and given the opportunity to thrive. 

Reviewed by Brittany Pape, the Division Director of Child Crisis Services at Seven Counties Services. 

Schedule Appointment

Seven Counties Services serves everyone regardless of diagnosis or insurance status. We ensure that getting started on your journey to recovery is as easy as possible. To schedule your first appointment, you can call directly or complete an online appointment request.

Helpful Resources

Educating individuals, parents, caregivers, and the community through specialized content provided by industry-leading experts.