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Preventing Child Abuse

By: Diane Champe, Founder/President of the E Diane Champe Institute

Edited by: Juliana Zhu, Esq.

Child abuse has not always been considered a crime. Historically, it was thought of as a “family issue.” During the last 50 years, pressure has been put on Congress to do something about the large numbers of children being maltreated and to provide funding for family support; however, it has become primarily a legal issue instead of focusing on the total problem. This means that a lot of money has been allocated in tracking, reporting, and investigating possible cases of child abuse, but the provision of family support systems has been neglected.

There has been a lot of scientific research documenting the developmental impact of abuse. “The growing empirical evidence that early exposure to chronic violence, a lack of nurturing relationships, and/or chaotic and cognitively ‘toxic’ environments may significantly alter a child’s neural development and result in:

  • A failure to learn,

  • Emotional and relationship difficulties, and

  • A predisposition to violent and/or impulsive behavior.”

("Preventing child abuse: Changes to family support in the 21st century," National Child Protection Clearinghouse, 2002)

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“The child may develop a chronic fear response as neural systems governing stress responses will become overactive, leaving the child to be hypersensitive to the presence of cues signaling a threat. Alternatively, a child experiencing a violent environment may become unresponsive and overly withdrawn. In either case, although this ‘survival’ reaction may be an important adaptation for life in a violent home environment, it can be maladaptive in other environments, such as school, when the child needs to concentrate and make friends with peers.” (Ibid)

If more of a focus were placed on early prevention, providing family support could be initiated before the situation gets out of control. The key issues would not be legal sanctions, but what the community and government could do to reduce or prevent harm done to children in the first place.


Diane Champé is retired from a Fortune 20 company where she was a Marketing/Sales Strategic Planner on the Regional Vice President’s staff. She is a Subject Matter Expert (S.M.E.) on issues relating to child abuse and neglect. As a survivor herself, she dedicates her efforts toward working on behalf of adult survivors, publishing books/information and speaking publicly about the long-term effects of child abuse and neglect. Ms. Champé’s nonprofit, the E Diane Champé Institute (, will begin providing services in Pikesville, MD this year with a mission to provide survivors a safe haven, education, training and resources.


Photo Credit: By Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga Commons)(Lmbuga Galipedia) Publicada por / Publish by: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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