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    Posted April 14, 2015 by
    Los Angeles, California
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    Reducing Child Abuse Impact Involves Addressing Needs to Repair Broken Families, Nonprofit Leader Says

    Breaking the so-called victim-to-victimizer cycle of child abuse involves taking a total family healing approach, says the president of a nonprofit organization developing a national database of resources to mend broken families in honor of April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

    “Obviously the most important step is removing a child from harm’s way and getting them out of the abusive situation,” says Ana Hawk, founder of the nonprofit Red PaperClip Center, designed to help domestic violence victims, troubled teens, the elderly, veterans and people who have fallen on hard times break all cycles of abuse. “Many times, however, the entire family is broken with a variety of dysfunctions, including domestic abuse, substance abuse or financial strife. Unless we’re willing to help families deal with a range of issues, the family remains broken. In cases of child abuse and domestic abuse, we often learn to treat others as we were treated.”

    According to a February 2013 report in the medical journal The Lancet, about one in 10 male victims of child sex abuse in a United Kingdom study continued the cycle of abuse in abusing children as adults. This tendency was even greater for children who came from severely dysfunctional families. According to the study, factors such as a family history of violence, sexual abuse by a female, maternal neglect, and lack of supervision all were linked to a threefold-increased risk that an abused youth would become an abuser as an adult.

    To do its part in recognizing a range of awareness months in April related to clients of the Red PaperClip Center – including National Child Abuse Awareness Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, Financial Literacy Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month – the center has sent dozens of requests for information to nonprofit agencies to compile a one-stop, central online database where a family or individual would be able to get all of their cycle of abuse needs addressed – from emergency housing or counseling to art therapy.

    “We want to reduce the bureaucratic red tape that often results in victimizing the victims, where they are given the run-around in securing services, exhausting the meager resources they have,” says Hawk, who also is the founder and CEO of Instant Barter, which encourages bartering as a business and personal strategy.

    This month, President Obama issued a proclamation marking National Child Abuse Awareness Month, calling child abuse and neglect a national injustice.

    “It is contrary to the values of good caretaking and the principles of our Nation, and it must not be tolerated,” the presidential proclamation reads. “This month, we celebrate the love and courage it takes to raise a child; we reaffirm the fundamental human rights of all children to live free from violence and abuse; and we rededicate ourselves to ending the cycle of harm too many girls and boys face.”

    There appears to be some promise in efforts like National Child Abuse Awareness Month and work to focus attention on child mistreatment. The Child Maltreatment 2013 report, the 24th edition of the annual report on child abuse and neglect data collected via the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, shows a drop in the overall rates of victimization of children. Numbers dropped from 9.3 to 9.1 per 1,000 children in the population from 2009 to 2013 – or an estimated 23,000 fewer victims in 2013 (679,000) compared with 2009 (702,000). The report is based on data submitted by 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and is designed to provide data based on information reported to state child protective services agencies.
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