HomeBusinessMoneyNational Childhelp Day of Hope: Protection against abuse of all forms

National Childhelp Day of Hope: Protection against abuse of all forms

Vulnerable children should be protected and supported
AFP News

National Childhelp Day of Hope is celebrated by Americans every first Wednesday of April to increase awareness and highlight the issue of child abuse and neglect. The holiday was founded by the oldest and largest non-profit organisation in the United States.

Childhelp was created by Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson in the year 1959. Committed to the prevention of child abuse and providing treatment to its victims, the organisation provides treatment programs across the USA for victims of abuse. They also run the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, the only helpline dedicated to concerns of child abuse and neglect.

The foundation started with the name “International Orphans” after the founding members took on the responsibility to support 11 Japanese-American children that they had met in Japan while on a goodwill tour, sponsored by the government. O’Meara and Fedderson returned to America to raise funds for the cause, resulting in two large orphanages in the Tokyo area for Asian American children which were built in 1961.

In the year 1976, the founding members launched “Children’s Village USA,” a campaign against child abuse. It gave protection to children who had undergone severe abuse and provided these young individuals with treatment and therapy. Three years later, O’Meara and Fedderson worked with the 39th USA President, Jimmy Carter, to establish April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. During the year 1983, its name was once again changed, resulting in “Childhelp USA,” while “Childhelp International” was created for international activities.

The organisation was also able to create the first national toll-free hotline, which still operates 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It offers various support resources from professional crisis counsellors. As of today, their website, which was made in the year 1997, also offers free online live chats with trained agents. In the year 2000, the American Congress voted to designate the first Wednesday in April as National Childhelp Day of Hope.

According to their website, there are four major types of abuse, mainly, physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect. The organisation also included the different forms of each dimension, as well as the warning signs to look out for in children. For example, emotional abuse can take the form of shaming or humiliating, and some signs to look out for in the child are wetting of bed and destructive or anti-social behaviours.

Child abuse is still one of the issues still not talked about enough, yet it happens to at least one in seven children in the United States. In the year 2020, approximately 1,750 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States. Children with special needs, too, are the most at risk of undergoing this traumatising experience.

Other forms of abuse, such as spousal and vulnerable adult abuse, can be linked with child abuse as well. In fact, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “rates of child abuse and neglect are 5 times higher for children in families with low socioeconomic status.”

Child abuse does not only hurt individuals but the economy as a whole. In the United States, the total lifetime economic burden associated with child abuse and neglect was approximately $592 billion in the year 2018. This economic burden has also become a candidate for rivalry with other high-profile public health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Even in Britain, the UK inquiry says child sex abuse is an epidemic. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said institutions and politicians had prioritised reputations over the welfare of young people, meaning horrific acts were hidden away for decades, while there were still inadequate protection measures in place. Police have also been charged with being perpetrators of paedophilia and various acts of abuse against children.

One of the key messages of Childhelp Day is that everyone has a role to play in protecting children from harm. By speaking up if we suspect that a child is being abused, by supporting organisations that provide services to children, and by advocating for policies that prioritise the well-being of children, we can make a real difference.

As Sara O’Meara, the co-founder of Childhelp, says: “Every child deserves to be safe and protected, and it’s up to all of us to make that a reality.” So this Childhelp Day, let’s come together as a community and take action to protect our most vulnerable children.

Stay Connected
Must Read
You might also like


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here