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MSPCC encourages public to learn how to prevent child abuse


April 11, 2014
GREATER SPRINGFIELD – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) is encouraging all adults in Massachusetts to learn how they can play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.

“In Massachusetts, a child is reported abused or neglected every seven minutes. It is the responsibility of adults to safeguard children and to give a voice to the thousands of children whose lives are threatened by abuse and neglect,” Mary McGeown, MSPCC president and CEO, said. “Child protective workers cannot save these children alone; they need the eyes and ears of adults in every community to identify signs of abuse and neglect before more harm is done to a child.”

Because abuse and neglect often occur behind closed doors, it is important for neighbors and friends to be aware of the well-being of children around them. While every case looks different, there are some recognizable signs of abuse and neglect. MCPCC is urging all residents to learn to identify these signs in children and report concerns to authorities:

• Excessively withdrawn, fearful or anxious;

• Extreme behavior (passive or aggressive);

• Unexplained injuries;

• Afraid to go home;

• Reacts to sudden movements;

• Chronically dirty;

• Frequently left alone;

• Often out of school;

• Trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in genital area;

• Knowledge of sexual acts;

• Runs away from home;

• Frequent complaints of stomachaches or headaches.

Those who suspect abuse or neglect are urged to call the Child-at-Risk Hotline 800-792-5200.

“When neglect and/or abuse are found, intervention services are provided to keep kids safe and to support families. Your vigilance could help save a child’s life,” McGeown said.



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