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Children Are the Safest They've Been in 25 Years, Says Committee for Children

SEATTLE, Wash., March 31, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and according to Committee for Children, a leader in the child abuse prevention field, a recent review of research shows abuse prevention efforts appear to be yielding results, with U.S. kids safer than they've been in 25 years in several key areas.

"Parents today are much like parents of every age: convinced they're raising their kids in the most dangerous of times," says Joan Cole Duffell, Committee for Children's Executive Director. "Of course there are myriad dangers for children out there, and we still have a lot of work to do to keep kids safe. But it's important for the people who work tirelessly to address the problem of child abuse to pause for a moment and recognize that their work is having a positive impact."

Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children's field-leading research into child abuse prevention spans 35 years, and its curricula and trainings are used by parents, teachers and counselors across the country.

A recent review of national data trends by Dr. Lisa Jones, Associate Research Professor at University Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center, reveals that child victimization rates have declined dramatically in several key areas:

  • Physical abuse of children is down 55% over the last 20 years.
  • Sexual abuse of children is down 64% over the last 20 years.
  • Since the early 1990s, schools have had less violent victimization (down 74%), less fighting (down 25%), and less theft (down 82%).
  • Teen suicide rates are down 32% since 1990.
  • Teens are committing fewer violent offenses (down 60% since 1992), sexual assaults (down 72% since 1992), and car thefts (down 86% since 1989).

"Protecting children and youth can feel like such a difficult job for those who work with children, but the good news is that our efforts appear to be working," says Dr. Jones. "This good news can reduce helpless feelings and increase the sense that we really can make a difference when children are given safe and nurturing environments that allow them to thrive."

Duffell adds, "There is no better argument for supporting quality child abuse prevention and treatment efforts than a review of the data over the past 25 years. When communities implement well-designed, research-based programs, we can see a profound and lasting impact on children's lives."

This year marks the 41st anniversary of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The month of April is marked annually by abuse prevention organizations to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.

About Committee for Children

Committee for Children is a 35-year-old nonprofit that develops award-winning, research-based educational tools to promote social-emotional learning and prevent bullying and sexual abuse. To learn more, go to www.cfchildren.org.

For more information about Child Abuse Prevention Month: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth.

For more information about University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center: http://cola.unh.edu/ccrc.

CONTACT: Allison Wedell Schumacher 206-438-6432 (o) 206-778-2537 (c) aschumacher@cfchildren.org

Source: Committee for Children