“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglass
Few issues are as consequential and widely impactful as child abuse.
Child victims of abuse face a multitude of long-term challenges, which often last a lifetime. Research strongly supports the association between child abuse and many core domains of life, including physical health, behavior, psychology, and socioeconomic outcomes. Among many other things, child victims of abuse are at significantly higher risk for developing PTSD, depression, chronic pain syndromes, lung problems, heart disease, impaired cognitive skills, engagement in high-risk behaviors, and difficulties with attachment and social relationships. An Alaska Maternal Child Death review of 388 deaths of Alaska children ages 0 – 17 in 2017 to 2021 found that 24% were maltreatment (abuse and/or neglect) related.
Child abuse also poses a heavy burden on society through increased expenditures on health care, child welfare, criminal justice, education, and lost workforce productivity. An Alaskan 2019 study estimated the total cost of child abuse and neglect to be $710 million (Human Capital) or $2.3 billion (VSL/QALY) (Klouda, 2020).
Did You Know?
- Alaska consistently struggles with some of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the nation.
- 1 in 3 children born in Alaska will experience an Office of Children’s Services report before the age of 8. ~1 in 7 children born in Alaska will experience an allegation of sexual abuse before their 12th birthday. (ALCANLink).
- Contrary to what we may have been taught, most offenders are NOT strangers. In the vast majority of cases, children are abused by someone they already know and trust- like a family member or friend.
- Most victims delay or never disclose child sexual abuse.
- Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a significant contributor and indicator of potential child abuse. Where the mother is subject to IPV, 35% of the children experienced a report of harm prior to age 13 years, and these children are 2.6 times as likely to experience an allegation of harm for sexual abuse than those born to mothers not reporting IPV. In addition, 63% of the children whose mothers report IPV have impulse/emotional control problems in kindergarten, 90% have poor 3rd grade reading scores, and 68% will be reported to OCS before age 9. (ALCANLink)
Report Child Abuse in Alaska
We each have a role to play in standing up for the children in our communities.
Learn more about potential indicators of child abuse. Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to speak up.
Learn to recognize the sign and symptoms of abuse (PDF)
or Fax: 907-269-3939