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FOR RELEASE: April 3, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Public Health Care Professionals Seek Help To Prevent Child Abuse

Most people feel helpless when it comes to finding ways to help prevent child abuse and neglect, but public health care professionals are offering suggestions on ways to start getting involved during Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

Some things that parents and caregivers can do to help prevent child abuse and neglect include:

  • Be nurturing with your children or those you are around.
  • Offer to help a friend, neighbor or relative if they are having difficulty with their child(ren).
  • Advocate for services to help families.
  • Volunteer at a local child abuse program.
  • Help develop parenting resources at your local library.

Child abuse is defined as physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. According to Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation's leading child abuse prevention organization, 43 percent of American parents report spanking or hitting their child within the last 12 months, 37 percent report insulting or swearing at their child, and two percent report having kicked, bit or punched their child. Harm to children can result from:

  • physical injury such as beatings, burns and bites;
  • constant criticism, insults, or the withholding of love;
  • rape, fondling of the genitals, and incest; and
  • failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.

If you suspect a child is being abused, call the child abuse hotline 1-800-522-3511.

Officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) say individuals and organizations can participate in events designed to draw attention to the needs of these children. Packets of materials from the OSDH Office of Child Abuse Prevention are available to help increase public awareness of child and neglect. To learn more about child abuse prevention activities in your area, or to get packets of materials for your organization, contact Carol Gehue at the OSDH Office of Child Abuse Prevention, 405/271-9444 ext.56725

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