National Child Abuse Prevention Month is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. April has been Child Abuse Prevention Month since 1983. In 2015, the most recent year with complete statistics, an estimated 1670 children died due to abuse or neglect. That year, 3.4 million children were the subject of a child protective services investigation and an approximately 683,000 children were abused or neglected.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has a Resource Guide with a wealth of information. It includes tips for parents and caregivers on how to recognize signs of abuse or neglect. Also, there are sections dealing with preventing abuse, working with families, and developing community partnerships.

The United States federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation” and/or “an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

During Child Abuse Prevention Month, communities should rededicate themselves to being supportive of families, and play an active role in preventing child abuse and neglect as well as taking positive action to promote child and family well-being. In San Diego, you can contact the County Child Abuse Hotline at 858-560-2191. Within the State of California you may call toll free 1(800) 344-6000.