Fredericksburg Parent

April 2013

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dvocacy A IS FOR Local Resources for Preventing Child Abuse BY KERRY L. PINTO I n Virginia, a child is abused or neglected every 75 minutes, and every 14 days a child dies from such mistreatment. However, despite this alarming statistic, Virginia���s child maltreatment rate of 3.6 per 1,000 children is significantly lower than the national average, at 10 cases per 1,000 children. According to Virginia Performs, the Commonwealth���s approach in emphasizing parental outreach and education as well as protection of abused children has been attributed to the lower rate. What is Child Abuse? Under the law, an abused or neglected child is any child under 18 whose parent, or any other person responsible for the care of the child: ��� causes, or threatens to cause, a physical or mental injury except for an accident. ��� fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care or caring support. ��� abandons the child. ��� fails to provide the kind of supervision necessary for a child���s age or level of development. ��� commits, or allows to be committed, any illegal sexual act involv- ing the child ��� including incest, rape, fondling, indecent exposure, prostitution ��� or allows the child to be used in any sexually explicit visual material. A variety of resources are available to Virginia families. Preventing Child Abuse Virginia (PCAV) offers a wealth of information to families. Locally, the Rappahannock Area Council For Children and Parents (RACCAP) provide services that support our resident community. 16 Fredericksburg Parent and Family ��� April 2013 1. Healthy Families Virginia. A program offered in 33 communities across the state that connects parents of newborns with a variety of supportive services, including ��� for the most overburdened families ��� a free-of-charge home visitor who assists the family before the child is born until the child enters school. The program has been proven to reduce child abuse and neglect and increase children���s access to routine health care and immunizations. 2. Hugs and Kisses. PCAV co-sponsors this renowned child sexual abuse prevention play in partnership with Theatre IV (now the Virginia Repertory Theatre) and the Virginia Department of Social Services. Developed 35 years ago to teach elementary school children how to keep safe from, and to report, sexual abuse, the play reaches more than 50,000 Virginia students each year.

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