April is nationally recognized Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM). The theme for this year is “All In to End Child Abuse;” keeping our children safe is the responsibility of the entire military community.
Marine Corps installations host events and activities throughout the month, of April, in recognition of CAPM. These events are critical opportunities to raise awareness of warning signs, promote service availability, build skills, and provide community education. Leadership support of these events is instrumental in making it clear, by word and deed, that child abuse is not tolerated in the Marine Corps.
Talk to your children about healthy body boundaries. Encourage them to trust their feelings and leave a situation that makes them uncomfortable. Ask them to tell a trusted adult right away if this ever occurs.
Encourage parents to take care of themselves. It is important for parents to find time to de-stress and engage in healthy coping skills. Know your local resources so that you can make a recommendation for services that may help a struggling parent.
Enhance your parenting skills. Classes, groups, and other supportive services are available that promote positive parenting practices, education, and support. These resources are tools for keeping your family strong and your children safe.
Make a report when you suspect or know of child abuse. Reports can be made anonymously and the family will receive supportive services. Reporting is mandated and the right thing to do.To make a report, contact the local Family Advocacy Program (FAP) office, Child Protective Services, or the National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-422-4453. If you have immediate concerns about a child’s safety, contact law enforcement. Assistance is also available at Military OneSource or 800-342-9647.