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Simple actions adults can take to help children

Updated: May 10, 2023

At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every year, Coffee County CAC serves more than 300 local children who are victims of abuse. We can take simple actions to prevent child abuse.

1. Volunteer your time. Get together with other adults in your community to help vulnerable children and their families.

2. Be careful and thoughtful when you discipline your children. Don’t discipline your child when you’re upset. Discipline helps you teach your child. Use privileges to encourage good behavior.

3. Use your behavior and actions to teach children that conflicts can be resolved without hitting and yelling.

4. Learn about child abuse. Various trainings and resources are available online and in-person.

5. Share helpful information. Be a voice in support of child abuse intervention and prevention in our community.

6. Let your children know that no one should be touching or asking to see their private body parts. Use correct words for private body parts. Tell them it’s always the abuser’s fault and never the child’s fault.

7. Support prevention programs. Participate in trainings and encourage others to participate.

8. Learn about different types of abuse. Know about child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

9. Know the signs. Injuries, depression, fear, sudden changes in moods, eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene and hostility can be signs of abuse.

10. Report abuse. Report suspicions of child abuse by calling 1-877-237-0004. You can also make a report to the Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement. Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter and you can report anonymously.

11. When talking to a child about abuse, listen very carefully. Assure the child you believe him/her and he/she is not responsible for what happened.

12. Invest in children. Participate in fundraising events that help organizations fight child abuse.

13. Encourage community members to be supportive of children and families. Ask your local and national lawmakers to support legislation to better protect children.

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