GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every year, there are more than three million reports of child abuse and millions more go unreported. In West Michigan, Wedgwood Christian Services works to prevent abuse in the first place.
There are four main types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect. It’s not always easy to spot the signs. Parents and caregivers should watch for a general change in a child’s mood or behavior and not be afraid to ask questions.
The best line of defense to keep your child safe is to get to know who he or she is hanging out with and what they’re doing when they’re not at home. Ask questions like who they were with, what they did, and if they felt safe. Having regular, open discussions with your children can make them more comfortable coming to you if there is a problem.
If you think someone needs help, contact their school, pastor, or if it’s severe, call 911. Wedgwood Christian Services can also help. You don’t need a referral. Just call (616) 942-2110 or visit their website. You can find a list of child abuse resources in West Michigan on wotv4women.com.