Childhood abuse leaves lasting scars

It takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, that village can often be lined with pitfalls, and one wrong step can lead our children down a road towards isolation, fear and despair.

It takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, that village can often be lined with pitfalls, and one wrong step can lead our children down a road towards isolation, fear and despair.

This week marked Child Abuse Prevention Day in British Columbia, and the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of our children is a message that never goes out of date.

Child abuse takes on many forms — physical, verbal, sexual and emotional — and the scars it creates can bring devastating lifelong impacts. The potential consequences of that abuse was highlighted in a Victoria courtroom this week where two teens were sentenced to life in prison for the brutal rape and murder of 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor. The young killers, Kruse Wellwood and Cameron Moffat, both led very troubled lives. Both claim to be victims of childhood abuse and both exhibited violent and deviant behaviour at a young age. But those warning signs were overlooked until it was too late and a young life was tragically cut short.

While the brutal nature of this crime may be beyond compare, tales of childhood abuse are a frequent theme in sentencing proceedings for all natures of crime. Child abuse is a vicious cycle that makes its way down through the generations.

That is why it is incumbent on each of us to do what we can to bring an end to child abuse in all of its forms.

Speaking as a mother and grandmother, Children’s Minister Mary McNeil summed it up best. “The knowledge that — at this very moment — children throughout B.C. are scared, lonely and hurting is horrifying. No child should ever have to endure abuse and neglect.”

It’s a statement we should all take to heart. Visit the website www.strongsafesupported.com and click on Child Protection, to learn more about how you can help. And if you know of a child who needs assistance or suspect is being abused, the toll-free Helpline at 310-1234 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

— Penticton Western News