FRANKFORT, Ky. — One abused child is one too many, and one month of the year focused on child abuse awareness just isn’t enough for groups in Kentucky working on this issue. They say they’ll use the momentum created during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April to continue their work throughout the year.
The “Face It Movement” includes dozens of organizations coordinating their resources to address child abuse and neglect. Kosair Charities leads the initiative, and President Keith Inman said the main goals include building awareness and engaging the community.
“It takes us all, it takes every one of us, to end this abuse,” Inman said. “In every instance of child abuse, there was a red flag, and somebody saw something and chose not to do something.”
He explained children are often too afraid to speak up, so adults should know the signs of abuse and neglect. They include, but are not limited to, bruising to the ears, neck or torso, burns, aggression towards others and a fear of parents or other adults.
Inman noted those at highest risk of physical abuse aren’t even able to talk yet, so any bruising on a baby should be of concern.
The Face It Movement was launched in 2013. Inman said since then, efforts have focused on advancing best practices in child abuse prevention and policies to improve the child welfare system.
“Everything from making sure the appropriate background checks are out there, helping kids in the court system when they raise their hands and say, ‘You know I’ve got a problem,’” he said. “We’ve been able to protect kids against dating violence, reducing head trauma, things like that. We’ve been pretty thorough on this.”
Beyond building momentum for future work, Inman said the events during Child Abuse Prevention Month also helped build awareness and get other people involved.
“This is a great time that helps us recruit other partners to the table,” he said. “So I wouldn’t be surprised if this time next year, you know, where we’re 46 right now, we might have 60, 70 members.”
About 20,000 Kentucky children were confirmed victims of abuse in 2016. That’s a rate of 19 victims per 1,000 children – the second-highest rate in the country.