Child abuse, whether psychological, physical, or sexual, is near epidemic proportions in U.S. society. In 2003, more than 218,820 reports of child abuse were registered with the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (Child, 1997). Women suffer from child abuse more than men, at least sexual abuse, with 29 percent of female rape victims under the age of eleven and 20 percent of all females a victim of child sexual abuse compared to 10 percent of males (Child, 1997). In all, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) reports that for the year 2003, 903,000 children in the U.S. experienced child abuse and/or neglect (Fact, 2005).
In increasing instances, family members, friends, teachers, coaches and even priests have been found guilty of child abuse in recent years. The child abuse scandal within the Catholic Church has become so bad that, at the Red Mass held in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had to declare, ôWe would argue most powerfully that those scandals must not silence nor limit the excellent influence that religious voices have in the formation of our governmental and societal policiesö (Scandals, 2002, p. 18).
President Bush attempted to provide legislation aimed at protecting children through his administrationÆs Keeping Children Safe Act in 2003. The Act allows authorities ôto strengthen state and community-based programs that prevent child abuse and family violence and treat victimsö (President, 2003, p. 1). The Act also helps prevent child abuse by mandating criminal background checks on any foster and/or adoptive parents. According to the American Association of Family Physicians, ôpoverty is the most frequently and persistently noted risk for child abuseö (Bethea, 1999, p. 1).
Such programs aimed at preventing child abuse or assisting victims of it exist on the federal, state, and local levels across the nation. In Washington, D.C., ther