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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month


Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley

WASHOE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize the role each person plays in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families. Washoe County Sheriff Michael Haley asks that residents take this opportunity to reflect on the important impact child abuse prevention has on the overall health of the region.

“Child abuse prevention is the most fundamental form of crime prevention,” Sheriff Haley said. “One of our top priorities in public safety is to protect kids. This includes helping to ensure that they are not placed in situations that may lead to long-term problems.”

Child abuse produces serious emotional harm and can leave lasting physical and mental scars on its victims. Abused children can develop a damaged sense of self, which in turn impacts their ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships, and function normally at home, school and work.

Child abuse and neglect fall into four main categories: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and endangerment, and sexual abuse. Statistics show that no community is immune. It crosses all racial, economic, and cultural lines. It is committed by both men and women, and sometimes even by young people themselves. Sadly, often the abuser is a parent, family member, or someone with regular access to the child.

“We need to focus on protecting children from abuse,” Sheriff Haley said. “There is no acceptable reason for injuring a child and there are many ways to avert situations that lead to child abuse.”

Strengthening family bonds and enriching the lives of children are important steps towards child abuse prevention. Parents are urged to take time each day to build strong relationships with their children through conversations, and the sharing of daily tasks and activities. Be willing to listen. Know where children are and who they are with at all times.

Proactively address day to day stress factors that, if allowed to fester, could increase the risk of abuse and neglect. These include unemployment, divorce, family crisis, financial problems, substance abuse, untreated mental illness, poor parenting skills, and low self-esteem.

For more information about how to prevent and report child abuse and neglect, contact the CAN-Prevent Task Force hotline at 1-800-992-5757 or visit canpreventnv.org.

Child abuse prevention tips for parents, educators and other caregivers are also available on-line from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families) at Childwelfare.gov; and from the Fight Crimes Invest in Kids website: FightCrime.org.

Additionally, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has just released a new children’s coloring book to help parents engage their children in activities aimed at helping them learn more about staying safe. A pdf version of the new Safety Activity Book is available online at WashoeSheriff.com.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process, traditional street patrols and Regional Animal Services.

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