Thursday, 19 April 2012

Law Enforcement Leaders, Violence Survivors Want Redoubled Effort to Stop Child Abuse, Neglect

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

As millions of Americans recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month, law enforcement leaders and crime survivors today joined the effort by launching their own nationwide campaign to help stop the cycle of abuse, crime and violence.

Almost 700,000 children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2010—tragedies that claimed the lives of at least 1,560 children. More than 1,560 law enforcement leaders and survivors—one for every child who lost their life to abuse or neglect—have signed the letter urging Congress to protect and expand funding for evidence-based home visiting services (see a list of who signed the letter). The letter emphasized the benefits of voluntary home visiting services, which help new parents cope with the stresses of raising a young child. Research shows quality, voluntary home visiting programs can cut child abuse and neglect by up to 50 percent, significantly reduce later crime and save taxpayers money. Evidence-based home visiting can save as much as $21,000 for each family served by reducing abuse, neglect, juvenile crime and other negative outcomes (read more on how home visiting works).

Some abuse and neglect incidents are crimes themselves, and child maltreatment also contributes to future crime. While most survivors of childhood abuse and neglect never become violent criminals, a nationwide report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids cites research showing that these children are 30 percent more likely to become violent criminals than children without a history of abuse. Survivors are more likely to abuse their own children, creating a cycle of violence that can continue for multiple generations.

The signatories, members of the anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, pointed to hundreds of thousands of cases of abuse or neglect that occur every year and said that the scope of the problem should "shock the conscience of every American."

"From a fiscal, moral and public safety perspective, we have an obligation to invest in home visiting and protect children from the harm caused by abuse and neglect," the leaders agreed.

The signatories of the letter are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national anti-crime organization of 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors.

RESOURCES: Read our letter to Congress. Get quick facts on child abuse and neglect from our info-graphic. Get data on abuse/neglect and child deaths in your state from our national report. Read real-life stories from law enforcement and survivors.