Protecting Our Children
At the Duneland Family YMCA, the safety and well-being of children in our care always have been and always will be a top priority. We are committed to providing a safe environment to every person in our programs, most importantly, children who are entrusted to our care. We have a series of measures in place to keep kids safe.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
As part of our commitment to protecting the children in our community, we’re participating in the Five Days of Action – a week-long campaign to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and empower and equip us all to prevent it. By taking part in this important campaign and through implementing abuse prevention practices year-round, we are committing to the safety of all children in our community.
Know. See. Respond.
Know: Knowing about child sexual abuse can help us better understand what to look for and how to keep it from happening in the first place. For example, did you know that 1 in 10 children in the U.S will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday?
See: When we know the signs of abuse, we can intervene on behalf of children.
Respond: If you suspect abuse, are you ready to respond? Do you know when and how to report suspected child abuse? Follow the link below to find Indiana Department of Child Services abuse and neglect hotline information.
April 24-28, we plan to increase awareness of child sexual abuse and how we can prevent it together. We pledge to protect the children we serve, and we hope you will too.
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
- 90% of offenders are known by their victim or their victim’s family.
- 1 in 10 public school children, accounting for 4.5 million students, have experienced sexual misconduct by an educator.
- There are more than 60 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America; 80% never reported their abuse.
- Child abuse costs the United States approximately $103 billion per year.
(2023, January 14). The Impact of Sexual Abuse. Praesidium Inc. https://www.praesidiuminc.com/why-praesidium/the-impact/
Physical Abuse is the deliberate intention to inflict pain. When someone hears the term “child abuse”, they most commonly associate it with physical abuse. Wounds, bruises, burns, fractures, and sore muscles are signs of physical abuse, but abuse can also result from severe acts of discipline. Injuries that don’t coincide with the explanation and untreated medical or dental needs are also red flags for physical abuse.
Behaviors toward the child that cause mental anguish are considered emotional abuse (also called psychological abuse). Examples of emotional abuse are often shouting at the child, withholding kindness or affection, extended periods of silence, and harsh jokes at the expense of the child. Calling the child names or making other demeaning remarks can be termed emotional abuse and usually results in low self-esteem. Children who have been emotionally abused may suffer from depression or desperately seek affection. Other symptoms include social withdrawal and delayed or inappropriate emotional development.
Parents or caregivers who are continually unavailable for the child are considered neglectful. Even if the parent is physically present but unavailable or refuses to care for the child or meet his/her needs, neglect occurs. Imagine a young child left at home alone for extended periods of time with no food in the house and an infant sibling to care for—this would be an example of child neglect. The parent may have a substance abuse problem, mental illness, or be too consumed with a job or another person to properly care for the child. The warning signs for neglect include poor growth, weight loss or gain, poor hygiene, lack of appropriate clothing or supplies to meet their needs, stuffing themselves at one meal and hiding food for later, or stealing food or money. Neglect is the most common type of child abuse.
Touching a child in a sexual manner or having sexual relations with the child is sexual abuse and includes any behavior toward the child for sexual stimulation. This type of abuse is characterized by fondling, forced sexual acts, and indecent physical exposure. Whether the abuse occurs as an isolated incident or as repetitive conduct that continues for years, both types are considered sexual abuse of a child. Often, the perpetrators are the child’s relatives or people closest to the family – individuals who no one imagined would commit such deeds. These behaviors in a child can signal sexual abuse: knowledge or promotion of sexual behavior premature for his/her age; sudden difficulty with toilet habits in a young child; pain or itching, bruises or bleeding in the genital area. Other symptoms are trouble sitting or walking, blood in his/her underwear, and sexual abuse of other children.
CASA for Children (2023, January 1). IDENTIFYING THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHILD ABUSE. Casaspeaks4kids.com. https://casaspeaks4kids.com/identifying-different-types-child-abuse/
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises.
- Extreme behaviors, such as excessive crying, truancy or running away.
- Poor hygiene and unsuitable clothing.
- Excessive fear of parent(s), caregiver(s) or going home.
- Depression or excessive crying.
- Poor peer relationships or inability to relate to children of the same age.
- Sudden change in behavior.
- Constant hunger, tiredness or lack of energy.
- Attention-seeking behaviors.
700 Children’s® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts (2022, April 14). Recognizing Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect. Nationwide Children’s Hospital. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2017/04/recognizing-signs-of-child-abuse-and-neglect
Watch this short video provided by our partners at Praesidium and learn how to talk to your child about their bodies, boundaries, what abuse is, and more helpful tips.
Indiana is a mandatory reporting state; anyone who suspects a child has been neglected or abused must by state law make a report.
You can report abuse and neglect anonymously. Call the Indiana Department of Child Services’ Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline today if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.
Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
Do not wait for someone else to make the call. Your call may be the critical first step in protecting a child.
Resources & Tips
Duneland Exchange Club
Five Days of Action
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Darkness to Light – End Child Sexual Abuse
Prevent Child Abuse America
Stanford Medicine – Abuse Screening
Indiana Department of Child Services
Our Kids Center
Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
CDC – Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention