Somewhere between four and six children die every day in the U.S. as a result of child abuse and neglect, a staggering statistic that doesn’t even tell the whole story considering that so many cases go unreported.
When it comes to child abuse, the U.S. actually has one of the worst records among developed countries, according to Child Help, a nonprofit that works to prevent violence against children. To help make this country a safer place for kids who are being hurt, the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is calling on those who are at the "front lines" to play a greater role: America’s teachers.
Back in the fall, the NCA, which provides training, support, technical assistance and leadership to local children’s and child advocacy centers, launched its "Help Victims Become Survivors" campaign. The group debuted the initiative with the chilling video above that demonstrates just how critical educators are in saving children’s lives.
In the 60-second spot, not a single word can be heard of the exchange between a teacher and the student. But it's not the details of the case that matter. It's the educator's willingness to listen and stand up for her suffering student.
"It’s easy to be a bystander," Teresa Huizar, NCA’s executive director, told The Huffington Post. "Children have to show a lot of courage [in reporting abuse] and we feel it’s important for adults to show the same courage. We can't help victims become survivors if we don’t know that they’re victims."
Teachers are already the most likely to report abuse among the demographic that is legally bound to do so, Huizar said.
According to Safe Horizon, 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported each year in the U.S. Of those cases, 17 percent are reported by teachers.
Though educators are the mostly likely to bring a case to authorities, Huizar says that there is still much more work to be done in training teachers to identify the warning signs and how to proceed once they do.
Huizar is optimistic, however, that the PSA has already made a measurable impact and will continue to do so.
A number of teachers have come forward to Huizar and said, "I’ve been worried and this prompted me to do something."