April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, and it is an important topic to discuss in light of recent school shootings, the March for Our Lives movement, and general public safety concerns.
AEGIS Security & Investigations has discussed the impact domestic violence has on not only the individuals involved but on public safety, particularly through active shooter situations. In this blog, we will delve into this correlation once again and offer insight on how you can work to prevent child abuse and other forms of bullying or violence. We hope that, in turn, you will save a life and prevent yet another school shooting.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse is a colloquialism used to describe any situation, ranging from physical harm to neglect, to describe adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). These experiences have strong links to negative outcomes, including “risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential, and early death” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Many of the actions associated with child abuse are those we associate with bullying: teasing, calling names, denigrating verbally, hitting and other forms of physical harm. Ultimately, the more a child encounters these negative abusive experiences, the higher their risk is for the outcomes discussed above.
How does child abuse impact public safety?
There is a common misconception that domestic abuse, including child abuse, takes place behind closed doors. However, it is becoming clearer that what takes place in the home has an impact on the community.
It has been understood for a long time that school bullies are often victims of abuse themselves. Now, we have a greater understanding of how bullying in general affects school violence.
“Bullied kids are more likely to bring weapons to school, study says,” headlined in late November 2017 on ABC News. A report for the 21st century identified a clear link between bullying and the large-scale violence on campus. The study, Weapon carrying among victims of bullying, reported on the phenomena at a national level, exposing the reality that more than 200,000 high school students who were or are victims of bullying carried a weapon to school in the month prior to completing the survey.
Additionally, bullying has been linked to active shooter thoughts and actions. Columbine, the most notorious school shooting in modern history that prompted extreme responses in schools to take preventative action, has often had bullying cited for the shooters’ motives.
Furthermore, when violence is witnessed, whether at home or in school, a correlation with decreased school attendance and academic performance is found across the board. See another study from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. These students are likely to engage in other risky and illegal behaviors (e.g., underage smoking, drug use, underage sexual activity) and attempt or consider suicide.
What can you do to prevent, report and eliminate child abuse?
In Los Angeles County, there are numerous places to report suspected child abuse and neglect. See all of the listed options here.
You should also know whether you are a mandated reporter. In the state of California, anyone who works with children will be required to take mandated reporter training under AB 1207; other professionals who may encounter work with children, such as law enforcement, will also fall into this category.
If you are not a mandated reporter but suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect, report it to law enforcement. They will conduct an investigation and handle the situation as appropriate per the law.
Lastly, we encourage your school and community to prepare for the worst case scenario through active shooter training designed for civilians and pre-law enforcement response. AEGIS offers four unique opportunities for educating you about active shooter situations, handling an active shooter, and saving yourself and others. Visit www.aegis.com/survive-active-shooter-training for more information. To learn more about our approach to preventing school shootings, visit here.
The civilian active shooter training provided by AEGIS is intended to build on “run, hide, fight,” the long-standing method of saving yourself in these events. Workshops run from an hour to several hours dependent on the needs of the organization and individuals. Our most highly sought after workplace violence training program is our one-hour plus add-on Run, Hide, Fight Live Fire Demo; participants begin with a lecture and basic training on how to handle the situation and are then exposed to sample scenarios in which they practice those same skills. The effectiveness of this scenario can be viewed when on CBS here.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people locates, and background investigations. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
By Chelsea Turner