Threat of Child Abuse and Neglect Grows During Economic Downturns

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (October 22, 2008) - While all the recent attention from the economic crisis has been on the impact of mortgages, stock markets and 401k's, another area of great concern is often overlooked - the very real danger for an increase in child abuse and neglect. Financial frustrations and uncertainty can lead to stressed out parents and caregivers, and the potential for abuse can rise.

According to Childhelp, a national non-profit dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, each year more than 3 million cases of child abuse are reported to authorities and an estimated four children die each day in the U.S. as a result of abuse.

"Economic downturns can aggravate the many perils children face," said John Reid, Executive Director of Childhelp. "What I am hearing from our clinicians and counselors at our hotline and our advocacy centers is that there is a definite connection between this financial crisis and child abuse and neglect. Our programs to prevent child abuse from ever happening in the first place become even more vital to protecting the lives of our nation's most vulnerable citizens during such stressful times."

According to a 2007 study, the estimated annual cost to society due to child abuse and neglect in the U.S. is over 100 billion dollars.

"What is even worse for society than the staggering financial drain is the long term impact of abuse," says Reid. "Abuse and neglect victims are far less likely to succeed in school or become productive adults."

Childhelp's prevention programs that can be a resource to your readers include:

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) which is staffed 24 hours daily by professional crisis counselors. The confidential and anonymous Hotline offers crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. For any parent struggling with the added burdens of financial stress, this hotline can be an invaluable resource for finding positive parenting tips and support resources.

Childhelp Good Touch/Bad Touch is a researched based, comprehensive violence prevention curriculum, equipping pre-K-6th grade children with the skills they need to play a significant role in the prevention or interruption of physical abuse, sexual abuse, bullying or sexual harassment in their own lives. It is currently taught in schools in over 42 states.



CFC# 11571