April is both National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 
April is both National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Since Child Abuse and Neglect and Sexual Violence are priority areas for the Center on Violence & Injury Prevention and to increase awareness of these issues, the following provides some background information as well as several ways to get involved.
Since 1983, April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). What is child abuse and neglect?  Although the actions and inactions included as part of child abuse and neglect due vary somewhat by state and across nations of the world, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C. §5101), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, retained the existing definition of child abuse and neglect as, at a minimum: Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.  Why should I be concerned? This public health and social problem is highly prevalent locally, nationally and internationally and is accompanied by high costs to individuals, families and society.- The most recent national data, adjusted for states not reporting, includes 3.4 million reports of maltreatment that involve more than 6 million children.

– While some of you may be more familiar with the figure of about 700,000 children that is frequently used this refers to reports that are officially “substantiated.” Work from Missouri, many other states, and even other countries (e.g., Canada), find that children with unsubstantiated reports often experience equally harmful conditions.

– A recent report from the CDC, estimates that long term costs in the United States for a single year’s substantiated reports is about 124 billion dollars. It is well over 240 billion for a single year’s cohort if we include unsubstantiated reports.

– Much of this cost is related to the higher likelihood that these children will experience later negative outcomes such as involvement in juvenile justice, poorer health, mental health issues, poor education performance and sadly even death.

– Locally? Last year 62,460 reports of child maltreatment involving over 92,000 children were received in Missouri.

The shiny blue pinwheels around campus represent this month’s dedication to raising awareness and working toward prevention. How can you be involved? Attend this year’s rally in Forest Park on April 11 at 10:30am (http://www.stlcocan.org/ChildAbusePrevEventFlyer2014.pdf). For more information on how to get involved with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, please visit: https://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/


Sexual Assault Awareness Month was first observed nationally in April 2001, though advocates have engaged in awareness activities during the month of April since the late 1980s. What is sexual assault? Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape (Office on Violence Against Women, April 2014). Why is this important?  Sexual assault is a significant social issue that is recognized as a serious public health problem. It is highly prevalent and often produces substantial detrimental consequences in the lives of survivors. Sexual Violence Facts at a Glance from the CDC:

– Nearly 1 in 5 (18.3%) women and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives.

– Nearly 1 in 5 women experienced attempted or completed sexual assault in college.

– 42.2% of female rape victims were first raped before age 18.

– Among female rape victims, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (51.1%), family members (12.5%), acquaintances (40.8%) and strangers (13.8%).

– Among male rape victims, perpetrators were reported to be acquaintances (52.4%) and strangers (15.1%).

– Based on 2005 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), for both women and men, links were found between history of nonconsensual sex and high cholesterol, stroke and heart disease; female victims of nonconsensual sex were more likely to report heart attack and heart disease compared to non-victims.

This is a month dedicated to raising awareness and prevention of sexual violence. This year’s campaign specifically highlights promoting healthy adolescent sexuality and engaging youth through the slogan “It’s time… to talk about it! Your voice. Our future. Prevent sexual violence.” What can you do? Plan An Event! Check out this list of ideas developed by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:  http://nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/saam_2014_event-planning-guide.pdf. To get more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month, please visit: http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/sexual-assault-awareness-month-home