Here are links to data regarding the Financial Costs of Child Abuse. If you want people to feel threatened by child abuse, one of the best places to start is their pocketbooks – since this is perceived as a threat to their survival – which raises that ugly old beast’s head: their survival instinct. And that is what we must prey on. Their fear. Remember 9/11; remember Pearl Harbor. It was the threat to survival which inspired people to demand legislation to protect them; many joined the war – physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. If you want to end Child Abuse, then you’ve got to use the same tactics: instill fear in them. Because trust me: Child Abuse is a fearful thing.
Set up a Menu Item on your blog. List it as something like “How Child Abuse Costs YOU”, or “The Cost of Child Abuse”, or “Financial Impact of Child Abuse”.
The rational is simple and psychological. Sure, everyone wants to read horror stories. Every survivor needs to be able to see others care. Every survivor wants to have hope. Those ‘stories’ of recovery and healing for trauma are there. I know this: I have visited many of your sites.
But imagine you are a non-abuser, and a person without a survivor’s past. Which is going to catch your eye? “My Story” – or “This is How It Impacts YOU”. Which are you going to be more concerned about? And remember: child abuse is one of those things that people always think “won’t happen to ME or MY children!” – and then are surprised when it does. People have a marvelous ability to stick their heads in the sand – until something comes up behind them and bites them in the butt. Then they pay attention to what you are saying. So lets get them paying attention.
Social and Economic Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect: US Government Statistics and Data, US Department of Health and Human Services.
In this you will find various reports. I selected one at random: http://www.preventchildabuse.org/about_us/media_releases/pcaa_pew_economic_impact_study_final.pdf
2007 Prevent Child Abuse America
Chicago, Illinois. Total Estimated Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States.
Ching-Tung Wang, Ph.D. and John Holton, Ph.D. Their estimate in 2007 Dollars? $103.8 billion. Think of how that money could have been better spent – if this issue didn’t exist at all. Not to mention they emotional, psychological, and physical damage – which they also mention. One of several reports. I wish that money could have been used to build our children a better future – instead of repairing their past. And as we survivors know: that past never ends. Not really. Not completely. We all have our own crosses to bear.
Note that these studies are faulty. They do NOT include:
Survivor’s costs: therapy, medication, counseling, in-patient therapy and/or medical treatment.
Costs to Survivor’s Families: Divorce costs (not including the devastating emotional impacts to children and spouses), and how Survivor’s Costs impact the household budget, resulting in less disposable (and necessary) income for raising children (who then may become victims of ‘neglect’; eg. not enough to eat, clothes to wear, day care, etc.). Add marriage counseling costs (many troubled couples end up in marriage counseling).
A good ‘for instance’ would be my case, where my parents (abused in their own way) used all their money AND my college tuition money fighting for a divorce (only to be remarried immediately after the divorce was finalized). As a result, I was not able to get my college degree in Veterinary Science, affecting MY income – which affected the government’s tax base (lower income = lower income tax). The effects ripple down – and around. And had I been a vet, I would have had some employees. There goes another easily $60,000 – $120,000 annual impact – lost because it was never made. And this is just ONE person.
From Australia: The economic costs of child abuse and neglect, NCPC Resource Sheet (http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/pubs/sheets/rs2/index.html)
“. . . Taylor et al. (2008) estimated that the annual cost of child abuse and neglect for all people ever abused in Australia was $4 billion in 2007, while the value of the burden of disease (a measure of lifetime costs of fear, mental anguish and pain relating to child abuse and neglect) represented a further $6.7 billion. The report also estimated that the lifetime costs for the population of children reportedly abused for the first time in 2007 would be $6 billion, with the burden of disease representing a further $7.7 billion. . . .)
While not the most friendly of reports (poorly consolidated and summed up), it is obvious that this ONE country is also spending billions and billions annually trying to fight a problem that should have never been. This money comes out of the pockets of citizens everywhere.
Now here’s the thing (and these are just a few reports) – people see these numbers and they get a glazed look in their eyes. It hasn’t “impacted” them. So lets see if we can make some sense here.
Total population of the USA, 2007: 302 Million (http://www.prb.org/pdf07/07WPDS_Eng.pdf)
Divide that by the woefully underestimated cost of child abuse in 2007:
|US Population 2007: 302,000,000.00|
|Costs, 2007: $103,754,017,492.00|
|Cost per every man, woman and child in the US: $343.56|
Sure, doesn’t sound like much: $343.56. But if you have four children and a spouse, it cost your family $1717.78 to pay for other people’s abused children in 2007. Think about it. Wouldn’t it had been nice to use that money for other things? Why not put an end to child abuse right NOW – and keep that money for yourself? And this number, by the way, does NOT include those ‘hidden’ costs of therapy, medications, and whatnot mentioned before, nor the emotional and mental impacts, nor the cost OF those emotional and mental impacts (eg. crime, restitution, incarceration, etc.), NOR does it cover future costs.
And those costs are just going to go up. US Healthcare expenses rose 17% JUST THIS YEAR. How much does that mean in terms of these 2007 studies and dollars? How much impact does child abuse bring in terms of driving UP those costs? (Supply and demand system.) How much more are YOU paying for your medication and treatment due to this? How much longer have YOU had to wait in the waiting room – because a child abuse victim or survivor was being treated for either their physical injuries or mental symptoms? Questions to ask yourself.
This is just a start. I see I have exceeded my 800 word limit. Time to move on. Use the tools you have – and the ones I’m giving you.
The fight must go on. These are government studies. Translate them into ‘regular’ terms – and make them public – in the only way us survivors can.
Pass the word around. And tell them YOUR own story too. How it has impacted YOU – and your family. I know it has mine, and probably damaged them forever. Not a good thing to live with, and it makes me sad.
Child abuse. It kept me from being the father I wanted to be. But I did the best I could with what little I had. And I had little – because I was a child abuse victim – and long since a survivor.