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You can help prevent child abuse

Child abuse is one of those things that everybody wants to prevent but nobody wants to talk about.

However, the key to the prevention of anything is bringing attention to the issue, talking about ways to prevent it and getting help for people who are at risk.

Many organizations and causes have resorted to creating special days, weeks or months as a way to create conversation around difficult topics. Such is the case with April being Child Abuse Prevention Month, where experts and those who work in the field can bring attention to common causes.

Every 9.6 days, a child dies as a result of abuse or neglect. Each and every one of those deaths, of course, is tragic and entirely preventable. That’s why there is a large team of professionals from a number of different offices and agencies in Western Tidewater that work against child abuse every day.

The Department of Health and Human Services starts providing tools for parents at conception and continues through childhood, not only to help prevent child abuse but also to improve the child’s and parents’ quality of life.

The department has its Healthy Families program as well as Nurse-Family Partnership to help growing families adjust to their new responsibilities without too much stress.

Child Protective Services and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office also work against child abuse and can help to make sure it doesn’t happen continuously.

Much child abuse is caused by stressors in the parents’ lives. In this area, many people are away from their families, and isolation can be a major contributing factor in abuse situations.

We appreciate the variety of professionals in Western Tidewater who are working against child abuse. Their work is mostly thankless and often heartbreaking, so we want them to hear it from us — thank you.