7 Dedicated Organizations Addressing Child Abuse
The terrible scourge of child abuse has proven difficult to fully eradicate from society. Addressing the problem has required a diverse and ever-evolving set of strategies and institutional frameworks. Fortunately, there exists an array of different organizations committed to fighting the exploitation and neglect of children. This list features, in no particular order, some of the groups distinguishing themselves in this effort.
#1 is SAFE, or Stop Abuse For Everyone, which fights for a just community free from violence. Based in Austin, Texas, it was created from three previously existing organizations: two of them founded more than forty years ago, respectively among the nation's first rape crisis centers and shelters for battered women, and the third an emergency residence for children facing domestic violence and neglect.
The group offers services to anyone facing abuse or violence, regardless of race, gender, age, sex, status, or any other factor. There are programs that provide shelter and housing, support to survivors, efforts in prevention and education, as well as advocacy work in communities and for families dealing with Child Protective Services.
Coming in at #2, CHILD USA is a non-profit think tank dedicated to protecting kids and preventing abuse, built on the work of two leaders in the field, Professor Marci Hamilton and advocate Rita Swan. It conducts evidence-based legal, medical, and social science research to identify laws and policies affecting child protection, and proposes alternatives.
The group draws on the combined expertise of some of the nation's leading medical and legal academics to reach evidence-based solutions to persistent and widespread child abuse and neglect. Initiatives center on issues like statutes of limitations, family court, conversion therapy, medical neglect and vaccination, and child marriage.
The #3 entry is Baltimore Child Abuse Center. It has the mission of providing young victims of sexual abuse, trauma, and other adverse experiences and their non-offending caretakers with comprehensive forensic interviews, medical treatment, and mental health services, with a goal of preventing future harm.
A non-profit subsidiary of LifeBridge Health, BCAC opened its doors in 1987 in response to growing awareness that sexually abused children were not only suffering the lasting effects of abuse, but were also being revictimized by the investigative process intended to help them. The group developed its own procedures to offer timely and child-sensitive methods of confirming and responding to domestic violence.
For #4, we have Stop It Now!, founded by Fran Henry, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who learned first-hand that standard approaches to keeping children safe from such violations did not address the complex relationships surrounding most abuse. She had a vision to see the problem recognized as a preventable public health issue, and to help adults take responsibility for ending it.
The organization mobilizes adults, families, and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed. To do so, it provides support, information, and resources that can help vulnerable kids and create a healthier world. In addition to challenging individuals to hold themselves accountable, these efforts include the push for corresponding changes in societal attitudes and government policies.
The #5 position is held by Thorn. It was founded by celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, and works to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse. Along with CEO Julie Cordua, Kutcher and Moore wanted to find ways to use innovative digital tools to address the sexual trafficking of minors.
Thorn's efforts have yielded Spotlight, a web-based tool for police. There's also the Equip project, which develops resources for small- and mid-sized companies to implement child safety procedures and avoid reproducing abusive content. Additionally, the group sells a software for platforms to identify, remove, and report material depicting harm to children.
#6 is National Children's Alliance, a professional membership organization that aims to make one big difference for one child at a time. Its signature project is its network of accredited Children's Advocacy Centers, safe environments in which suspected victims of abuse can tell their stories once to a trained interviewer, who knows the right questions to avoid retraumatizing them.
The Centers are designed to provide children and families with healing and justice in a setting they can trust. Among the NCA's other efforts is the Thriving Kids Initiative, a set of nationwide campaigns to develop, grow, and increase access to mental health treatments that reduce the lifelong effects of trauma caused by abuse.
Closing out our list at #7 is Children's Trust of South Carolina. The organization focuses on the prevention of child abuse, neglect, and injury throughout the Palmetto State. Bringing its own materials and expertise, it partners with local organizations to deliver proven prevention programs and builds coalitions to tackle the problem.
The group also shares resources on stopping child abuse with South Carolinians. The Trust maintains training and professional development opportunities to give those working with children and families the prevention know-how to keep young ones safe and build strong communities.