April 2015 Newsletter

APRIL'S PREVENT CHILD ABUSE MONTH HIGHLIGHTS
AT-RISK CHILDREN IN UTAH 

Across the nation, April serves as a reminder that child abuse is a preventable issue. Child abuse impacts every American in some way, whether its a shared story of abuse or even the staggering economic impact.

We hope with enough education and awareness, fewer children will carry the emotional scars of abuse, neglect or abandonment. 

In Utah, sexual abuse against a child or teen is the most substantiated claim, followed by physical abuse, neglect and drug-related issues in the home. Annually, the state investigates roughly 20,000 reports of abuse, more than two cases every hour.

Child abuse costs Utah's economy an estimated $1 billion every year, which equates to $2.84 million per day. Direct costs include foster care services, hospitalization, mental health treatment and law enforcement, according to a PEW Research Institute study. Indirect economic impacts to Utahns include loss of productivity, as well as expenditures related to chronic health problems, special education and the criminal justice system.

For the majority of children who have experienced abuse, abuse will make a lasting impact on their ability to thrive as adults. Research shows that abuse can alter the way a child's brain develops, impacting them long after the abusive incident.

According to Prevent Child Abuse Utah, "victims of child abuse and neglect are more than twice as likely to fall below the poverty line as adults" compared to children who were never abused. The cause may be due to an increased chance of poor physical and mental health, social difficulties and behavioral problems, all factors that can impact the victim’s ability to secure and maintain a job. Childhood abuse is also linked with less schooling than non-victimized peers.

According to Prevent Child Abuse Utah, abuse and neglect may occur due to the following factors:

  • lack of preparation or knowledge of critical issues surrounding parenting (such as discipline, providing of basic needs, etc.)
  • financial or other environmental stressors
  • difficulty in relationships
  • depression or other mental health problems 
  • substance abuse
  • previous exposure to abuse

Donors and Volunteers shine in March 

Between Love Utah Give Utah, the First Presbyterian Church's DINGO Party and The Village Run 5K, March proved to be a busy time at The Christmas Box International. And thanks to the support of hundreds of donors and volunteers, we raised more than $18,000 last month.

The DINGO Party is a special event hosted by the First Presbyterian Church to support The Mentor Project, where the community is invited to an all-you-can-eat buffet of spaghetti and BINGO. (When you mix dinner and BINGO, you get DINGO.) Several young adults served by The Mentor Project, their mentors and members of the congregation attended for a fun night out with a chance to win some prizes. The event raised more than $1,500.

For Love Utah Give Utah, The Christmas Box International received a $500 matching grant from Dreamweaver Travel and raised $3,140 from 78 unique donors. Mountain America Credit Union also created a challenge for a handful of nonprofits with a matching prize of up to $5,000 for the charity that received the most online votes! 

And we won, thanks to everyone who took a minute out of their day to vote! 

In total, donations received for Love Utah Give Utah raised $8,140 in support of local at-risk children and youth. Thank you to everyone who participated and made this event a HUGE success!

At the 4th Annual Village Run 5K benefiting youth in Utah County, event attendees helped raise another $5,000. The funds from the race will go to support at-risk youth transitioning out of state custody to adult life on their own. With the monies raised, these young adults will receive move-in kits to help with their first apartment, as well as attend youth summit events aimed at preparing them as they exit foster care.    

New campaign aims to end sexual abuse

One With Courage Utah is a local campaign created in correlation with a national initiative to raise awareness about child sexual abuse. Courage is necessary for child victims to come forward and for adults to start a dialogue, learn the signs, and report abuse when it is suspected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18. Perpetrators often consist of family members, friends, and acquaintances. It is estimated that over 90 percent of child sexual assault victims know their perpetrators, and most of these children do not disclose abuse until adulthood, if ever at all.

The event promoted awareness, that no matter individual circumstances, to be "One with Courage" comes from addressing the issue and to talking about child sexual abuse.

Attorney General Sean Reyes introduced the campaign at the Megaplex Theatres at Jordan Commons in Sandy this week.

The Utah Attorney General’s Children’s Justice Center (CJC) Program teamed up with Utah’s Department of Human Services Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and local survivors to launch One With Courage Utah.


10 signs of child abuse

1. Unexplained injuries
2. Changes in behavior
3. Returning to earlier behaviors (i.e. reverting to thumb sucking or bed wetting)
4. Fear of going home
5. Changes in eating
6. Changes in sleeping
7. Changes in school performance
8. Lack of personal care or hygiene
9. Risk-taking behaviors
10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors

*Information provided by Safe Horizons

If you suspect a child is a victim of abuse or neglect, report it. To make a report, call the Child Abuse Intake Hotline at 1-855-323-3237 to speak with an intake worker about your concerns. Through that process, you will have the option to remain anonymous but be able to share vital information about the family and children you are concerned about.

Learn more about our partners, the Division of Child and Family Services by clicking here.