Take responsibility in preventing child abuse

Tuesday April 5th was Child Abuse Prevention Day in British

Columbia, a time to acknowledge the devastating, lifelong impacts of child abuse – and to recommit to our shared responsibility and continued work to keep children in our families, schools and communities safe and healthy.

Child abuse has many faces. It can be physical, sexual, verbal and emotional. Abuse, neglect, ill-treatment and abandonment occur provincewide and are not confined to any particular socio-economic group, culture or community.

As a mother and grandmother, the knowledge that – at this very moment – children throughout B.C. are scared, lonely and hurting is horrifying.

No child should ever have to endure abuse and neglect. It’s incumbent upon each and every one of us to reach out and be advocates for the vulnerable young people in our communities who need help.

We all have the power to stand up for the children around us – and each of us has a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to report child abuse. Every child in British Columbia deserves to grow up in a safe, loving environment and we are all accountable to help make this happen.

It’s important for each of us to know and understand the signs of abuse. I encourage all British Columbians to visit www.strongsafesupported.com and click on Child Protection, to learn more about how to help.

If you know a child who needs assistance, or suspect a child is being abused, please pick up the phone and call 310-1234 toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Just one call to the Helpline can make all the difference in a child’s life.

Together, we can ensure children never have to feel frightened and lonely again. Together, we can end abuse.

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect

By Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development