Child Abuse Prevention Education

Courtney WaggleUncategorized

Blake, 9, disclosed domestic violence and parental substance abuse to our Child Abuse Education Advocate after Play it Safe! He told our advocate that his dad has a drug problem and drinks and then “hurts his mom”. He said that he sees this a lot and that he doesn’t know how to help his mom. Blake appeared very anxious and clearly felt pressure to try and keep his mom safe. Intervention in this situation is so important, because children growing up in a home with domestic violence are three times more likely to experience domestic violence relationships as adults. Also, when children feel pressure to keep mom safe they can be injured in the process. In addition, there are a myriad of social, emotional, and behavioral problems associated with exposure to domestic violence. Play it Safe! empowers children to come forward about all types of abuse and/ or neglect. When children tell a safe adult this is often the first step to breaking the cycle. In the Play it Safe! Program we also teach children that if they are worried about a friend’s safety they need to tell a trusted adult. This message prompted a friend of Blake’s to disclose concerns about Blake’s home life to our advocate after the Play it Safe! presentation to his class later that same day. Josh is a couple of years older than Blake and they ride the same bus. Blake had recently told Josh that he didn’t feel safe at home and thinks he might be being abused. Josh took the Play it Safe! message to heart and did the right thing. Later that day, when Blake was in his classroom he disclosed again to his teacher. He told her he had seen blood on his dad’s shirt that was from his mom’s lip. Our program gave Blake the tools to disclose to two trusted adults and gave his friend the tools to help him. Our advocate made a referral to the child abuse hotline and to law enforcement and included all of the information from Blake’s disclosures, as well as the friend’s disclosure. This referrals allows child welfare to work with the family, referring mom to domestic violence services and dad to substance abuse and batterer’s services. With these supports in place the parents are more likely to break the cycle of domestic violence for their child.