LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE, Texas – Colonel Thomas Murphy, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, poses with several Laughlin youth and their mothers after signing a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month at Laughlin. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize)
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE, Texas – Colonel Thomas Murphy, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, signs a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month at Laughlin at the Bookmark Library here April 1. Several Laughlin youth and their mothers were present to witness the signing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize)
LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Machelle Terrell, 47th Flying Training Wing sexual assault response coordinator, entertains some Laughlin youth and their mothers, who gathered at Laughlin’s Bookmark Library April 1 to witness the signing of a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month here. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Blake Mize)
by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
47th Flight Training Wing public affairs
4/6/2011 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Across the world, one child abuse report is made approximately every 10 seconds while almost five children a day die from maltreatment and neglect.
According to www.childhelp.org, statistics like these have been on the rise for years. By signing a proclamation intended to raise awareness, Laughlin Airmen came together April 1 hoping to stop the numbers from going up.
"The event is held because we are mandated by the family advocacy program to provide outreach to prevent abuse," said Capt. Julia Vanover, 47th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight commander. "Educating our families and bringing awareness to the base communities has shown to decrease child abuse and improve family relationships with these programs."
While one of the Air Force's key missions is to support the military family, Laughlin Airmen play their part by raising awareness of child abuse prevention here.
"I feel lucky to be a part of something that can enhance a child's life, keep a child safer or encourage a struggling parent to seek help," Captain Vanover said. "I also feel fortunate that family advocacy is supported all the way to the top of the Air Force. It's enjoyable to work for an agency that understands we need true support from all of the command to keep our families healthy and safe."
While the military offers child abuse support for military families, they should be aware of some of the problems the military lifestyle can cause.
"The military lifestyle is stressful for our families; ongoing deployments and reduction in work force add to it," Captain Vanover said. "Our families sacrifice and endure many inconveniences and time away from their loved ones to maintain the mission. Some families cope well with this stress, others, understandably, need extra support."
Taking advantage of the support and information which is available may be crucial for long term situations.
"The effects of child abuse can be long term, especially if the child dies or is injured so severely that they cannot function," Captain Vanover said. "Other affects of child abuse can result in low self-esteem, poor academic performance, poor problem solving skills and having difficulty in relationships with others."
According to www.healthyplace.com, people should be aware of all forms of child abuse; physical, sexual, emotional, psychological abuse and neglect.
If someone suspects any kind of child abuse they are highly encouraged call the Texas Child and Family services hotline at 800-252-5400.
"One can make an anonymous report if the person reporting doesn't want their name used," said Barbara Hope, 47th MDOS social worker. "It is important for the person to make a report even if they're not sure --- better safe than sorry."