Child Abuse and the Value of Life

On January 6, 2012, ABC news published a story on child abuse.

The story was based on a study of child abuse cases from 2006.

It states that 4,569 children in America were hospitalized that year due to
child abuse. 300 of those children died from their injuries.

The highest rate of abuse was to children under a year old, finding that 58
of every 100,000 babies needed serious care for abuse related injuries.

For most child related hospital stays, the length of time in the hospital was
double that of non-abuse related injuries.

The article also discussed the financial cost of child abuse stating: “The average hospital stay cost $16,058, compared with $9,550 for non-abuse-related injuries and $7,964 for other illnesses, bringing the national cost of abuse-related hospitalizations to $73.8 million — a fraction of the estimated $124 billion spent on justice, education, health care and social support for children who survive abuse and neglect, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Really, $124 Billion a year spent on child abuse related things???

The article mentions that helping parents learn to parent in the early stages
of pregnancy might help save countless families.

The final thing the article shares is that hospitalization only represents about 2% of the children that face some form of child abuse. That means they are estimating that 228,450 children are being abused in their homes.

Click here to read the full ABC News story.

Child Abuse Statistics

In America, nearly 5 children die every day as a result of domestic abuse. Each year over 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States that involve over 6 million children. 72% of the children who die from abuse are under age 3. 30% of children who are abused will end up abusing their own children someday.

In 2017, 142,301 victims of child abuse received foster care services. Nearly 75% of abuse victims were being neglected. 18% of the victims were physically abused, 8% were sexually abused, and 7% were psychologically abused. This list also reveals that abused children were frequently victims of more than one kind of abuse. Over 80% of the time the perpetrators were between the ages of 18 and 44, 54% of the perpetrators were women and 45% were men.

How long will this go on?

Children who are abused are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. 80% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children had at least one psychological disorder. Many parents who abuse their children struggle from alcohol or substance abuse and 1/3 of children who are abused will have a substance use disorder before they turn 18. 14% of men and 36% of women in prison were abused as children.

For more stats visit https://americanspcc.org/child-abuse-statistics/.

Child abuse can come in the forms of neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, trafficking, being in situations where they are around substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide, and/or crime.

What does the Bible say about Child Abuse?

The Bible is clear that children are to honor/respect their parents and obey them.

Colossians 3:20 reads, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Parents are to teach their children how to make good choices and to become responsible citizens. To this end, parents are to discipline their children, but that discipline should be founded in love.

Psalm 127:3 teaches that children are a heritage from the Lord.

Proverbs 22:15 states, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” In verse 6 of this same chapter, Solomon provides general wisdom stating that when a child is trained in how to live, when he is older he will continue on that path.

Proverbs 13:24 reminds us that involved parents who love their children will discipline them. It states, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

In Proverbs 29:15 parents are reminded that when children are not disciplined but allowed to do whatever they want, then the children bring shame to their families.

This being said, Ephesians 6:4 reminds parents that they are not to be so strict that they actually lead their children towards rebellion. The verse reads, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

This same phrase occurs in Colossians 3:21 where Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

The Bible expects parents to act responsibly while raising their children. They should not neglect them or physically harm them. They should lovingly teach them how to be responsible human beings.

Parents should seek what is best for their children and not seek their destruction.

Proverbs 19:18 states, “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

It happen s every day.

What does the Bible say about Child Abuse?

The Bible is clear that children are to honor/respect their parents and obey them.

Colossians 3:20 reads, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Parents are to teach their children how to make good choices and to become responsible citizens. To this end, parents are to discipline their children, but that discipline should be founded in love.

Psalm 127:3 teaches that children are a heritage from the Lord.

Proverbs 22:15 states, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” In verse 6 of this same chapter, Solomon provides general wisdom stating that when a child is trained in how to live, when he is older he will continue on that path.

Proverbs 13:24 reminds us that involved parents who love their children will discipline them. It states, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

In Proverbs 29:15 parents are reminded that when children are not disciplined but allowed to do whatever they want, then the children bring shame to their families.

This being said, Ephesians 6:4 reminds parents that they are not to be so strict that they actually lead their children towards rebellion. The verse reads, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

This same phrase occurs in Colossians 3:21 where Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

The Bible expects parents to act responsibly while raising their children. They should not neglect them or physically harm them. They should lovingly teach them how to be responsible human beings.

Parents should seek what is best for their children and not seek their destruction.

Proverbs 19:18 states, “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

What can you do about it?

If you are a childcare provider or parent, regain control before disciplining a child. If you suspect child abuse, report it to your local Child Protective Services Agency. If you struggle with abusing children, seek help through mental health facilities, community centers, or local churches.

What can the Church do about it?

How can churches make sure more parents know how to properly discipline and parent their children? How can we help lower the number of abuses? What kinds of programs would be necessary to reach parents in the early stages of pregnancy?

It seems to me that this is something that churches could really focus on in doing community service and reaching out with the love of Christ to their communities. If churches offered free parenting classes, perhaps these abuses would decrease drastically. The Bible certainly has a great deal to say about parenting. Christians are interested in the family structure and how healthy family structure affects the larger culture.

I think that offering free classes would allow the church to recognize and properly care for some great needs in every community across the nation. It would also allow the church to positively affect the community. Churches are often generally inviting enough, that people in all socio-economic levels
feel comfortable in them.

The church is a place for hurting people in need of help, regardless of what the struggles may be. So my challenge is to see what your church can do to help take this burden from the state and to help alleviate the problem in your local community.

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