On April 11, residents throughout Ohio donned blue to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect in our communities. The campaign, led by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, aims to engage business, community service organizations, schools, civic organizations and healthcare organizations to participate in a one-day awareness event. The campaign is also in the midst of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
In addition to negatively impacting a child’s well-being, studies suggest that abuse and neglect may have damaging effects on emotional and physical health, perhaps even contributing to premature death.
“When a child is abused there is usually more than one type of abuse happening,” explained ProMedica clinical psychologist Adrienne Fricker Elhai, PhD, The Cullen Center. “Their environment lacks support and they don’t develop the proper skills to be an adult.”
Awareness of the effects of neglect is particularly important due to its effects. Neglect is the absence of care and can be physical, emotional or medical.
“Research shows the long-term effects of neglect are often more profound than abuse,” said Dr. Elhai. “Babies and children learn about the world, themselves, and others within the context of relationships and when they are neglected, this learning is disrupted.”
According to Dr. Elhai, children who are consistently neglected have no one to let them know that they matter and will likely have difficulty with trust and understanding their own and other’s moods, which will make relationships difficult.
Child abuse and neglect can be prevented, but it takes awareness and the right connect to resources. If you suspect a child has been a victim of abuse or neglect, call Child Protective Services. In Lucas County, the number is 419-213-CARE (2273).
“One positive adult in a child’s life can make all the difference for a child who is being abused,” said Dr. Elhai. “Having a supportive individual around may change that child’s path.”
ProMedica staff participate in #OhioWearsBlue to raise awareness:
The Cullen Center at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital helps children, adolescents and families who have experienced a traumatic event to heal and reclaim their lives.