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4 Ways to Get Help for Child Abuse

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4 Ways to Get Help for Child Abuse

  • Children Mental Health
  • Family

When you suspect a child is in danger, there’s no time to waste. In 2019, the most recent year data was available, an estimated 1,840 children nationally died from abuse or neglect — an average of 5 per day.

While child abuse reports decreased in 2020, many believe it stems from people who normally report cases — like teachers, day care workers, and police officers — spending less time around children during the pandemic. Because of this, knowing how to spot the signs of child abuse have never been more important for all adults, not just trained professionals.

Ways to Get Help

There are so many ways to get help for a child abuse victim, it can be overwhelming to start. Here’s some tips for where to get help for child abuse in the United States:

1. Tell someone
Children often notice if something is wrong with their friends, no matter the age. If you are a child and suspect your friend is in trouble, talk to a teacher, guidance counselor, or adult you know and trust immediately.

2. Report Potential Child Abuse
The first step for anyone who suspects a child is being abused is to report it. If you suspect a child is being abused, call (800) 4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) immediately. Child abuse reports can be made anonymously.

To report child abuse in Maryland, call the Department of Human Services at (800) 332-6347, or contact your local department of social services.

3. Get Professional Help
There are many places to get help with child abuse, both for the child and the family.

Child abuse victims should be physically examined by a doctor as well as seen by a professional therapist to assess trauma from physical, mental, emotional, and sexual child abuse.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a Maryland-based child abuse victim in need of therapeutic treatment options.

4. Seek Legal Protection
When a child is separated from an abuser, they often come back, whether it’s days or years later. Legal aid, such as restraining orders and guardianship documents, can make a child feel safer in a new home.

If you can’t afford a lawyer, some firms offer free legal help for child abuse victims and their families.

How Can I Help My Child Get Over Abuse?

When a child suffers, the entire family unit does, too. Whether you’re a biological parent who’s child was abused, or you’re a foster or adoptive parent with an abused child in your care, there are a few steps you can take to help a child cope with their trauma safely.

Be a safe space: Children struggling with the trauma of child abuse may “act out” to try to mask pain they can’t explain or completely withdraw from others. Some of these negative coping mechanisms include substance abuse, running away from home, and violent or reckless behavior. If your child comes to you and tells you how they are feeling, listen.

Cognitive behavioral therapy: This one-on-one treatment option can teach abuse victims coping mechanisms to live with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health struggles. This is one of the most common types of talk therapy for children and adults.

Child-parent psychotherapy: This is a great option for foster or adoptive parents as well as parents who were not the abuser. This treatment option helps the family bond as a unit, teaching parents healthy skills to foster growth in the child as well as building trust between the abused child and parents.

Contact Advanced Behavioral Health for Help

At Advanced Behavioral Health, we understand the unique needs of children in the aftermath of trauma. If your child is the victim of abuse, call us today and make an appointment with one of our licensed therapists.

However, the journey of therapy is not the only step. If your child is asking questions you do not know the answers to, it is comforting to tell them that while you do not have the answer at that moment, you will find the answer so both of you can understand and work through it together. We can help your family overcome trauma and begin to build again.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.

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