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April kicks off Child Abuse Awareness Month

Sheppard Family Advocacy Program members and Bikers Against Child Abuse pose in front of a display in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month, April 1, 2012, with this year’s theme as “Stand Up For Children.” For more information on child abuse reporting and prevention please call the Sheppard Family Advocacy Program office at 940-676-2271.

Sheppard Family Advocacy Program members and Bikers Against Child Abuse pose in front of a display in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month, April 1, 2012, with this year’s theme as “Stand Up For Children.” For more information on child abuse reporting and prevention please call the Sheppard Family Advocacy Program office at 940-676-2271. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Sheri Ward)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Heading into Sheppard's main gate have you noticed the six foot blue ribbon, three child silhouettes and 50 pinwheels? Did you just pass by it or did you mention it to someone?

Each year our nation observes several awareness events during the month of April. The Sheppard's Family Advocacy Program and members from the Bikers Against Child Abuse set up the display April 1, in honor of Child Abuse Awareness month.

This year's theme is "Stand Up For Children." While child abuse blights the lives of the victims and families, its devastating impact is felt far beyond relatives and friends. According to the Texas Association for the Protection of Children, abused children are 74 times more likely to commit crimes against others and six times more likely to maltreat their own children.

In order to have productive efforts in fighting child abuse the FAP needs participation from everyone. One of the first objectives this month is to define and educate people on what is and is not abuse.

The U.S. federal government defines child abuse and neglect as the physical and mental injury, sexual abuse, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child under the age of 18, by a person who is responsible for the child's welfare under circumstance which indicates that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened.

The next step after suspecting child abuse is to find available resources and share the information with family, friends and coworkers. For more information on child abuse visit one or more of the following websites:

- Texas Department of Family Services www.dfps.state.tx.us
- Texas Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc. www.cactx.org
- Texas Young Lawyers Association www.tyla.org
- Prevent Child Abuse Texas www.preventchildabusetexas.org

The third and final step is to become involved. Each and every citizen has a responsibility to help break the cycle violence. To report use on or more of the following emergency phone numbers or hotlines:

- In Case of Emergency call 911 immediately

- The Texas Child Abuse Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be reached at 1-800-252-5400

- The number for the National Child Abuse Hotline is 1-800-4-A-CHILD

- The number for the Texas Youth Hotline is 1-800-98-YOUTH

- There is also the option of reporting child abuse by secure website at https://txabusehotline.org

If an individual places a call to any of the above agencies please report an allegation of child abuse, please also notify the FAP office at 940-676-2271.

For more information on how to help prevent or report child abuse call the Sheppard FAP or visit their face book page by clicking here.