National Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Child Abuse Prevention Month, also known as Child Abuse Prevention Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983. U.S. President Barack Obama continued that tradition, and in 2016 issued a Presidential proclamation stating: “During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect.” The World Health Organization (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.” In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the term child maltreatment to refer to both acts of commission (abuse), which include “words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child”, and acts of omission (neglect), meaning “the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm”.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”.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that for Nation 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. One way the Federal government of the United States provides funding for child-abuse prevention is through Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (CBCAP).
A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that in FFY 2014 in the United States, an approximately 646,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect, while still another 1,580 children died from abuse or neglect. The majority of child abuse cases result from conditions that can be prevented through community programs, systems, support and interventions. April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
As early as 1976, Take Back the Night marches rallied women in organized protest rape and sexual assault. These marches protested the violence and fear that women encountered walking the streets at night. Over time these events coordinated into a movement across the United States and Europe. Because of this movement broader activities to raise awareness of violence against women began to occur.
In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) informally polled state sexual assault coalitions to determine the preferred date for a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week. A week in April was selected. By the late 1990s, many advocates began coordinating activities and events throughout the month of April, advancing the idea of a nationally recognized month for sexual violence awareness and prevention activities. SAAM was first observed nationally in April 2001.
In 2009, President Obama was the first United States president to proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
April is also sexually transmitted disease awareness month in the United States, started in 2009 to promote education about STDs and prevention.