April is Prevent Child Abuse Awareness Month. While "special months" are good for calling attention to a particular cause, fighting child abuse must remain a daily battle.

The stakes are high and we must never ease up in the fight to stamp out this horrible injustice.

We've reported on too many child abuse and neglect cases in the Courierarea. Some have involved serious physical injury, but many cases go unreported and the children suffer in silence.

Make no mistake, child abuse can be fatal, it hinders normal growth and development, it costs millions of dollars paid out to child welfare agencies, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities, and victims of abuse often repeat the violent acts they experienced on their own children.

Treatment services, while crucial, are often ineffective in permanently altering parental behavior. Prevention programs that target parents before they become abusive or neglectful do reduce the likelihood for future maltreatment.

As a society, we must each take steps to protect the welfare of all children. That requires each of us to be an advocate for children and intervene when we witness or suspect abuse by reporting those cases to local authorities immediately.

Call local police or the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline if you suspect a child is being abused. In Indiana the hotline number is 1-800-800-5556. In Kentucky, call 1-800-752-6200.

Don't worry about being accused of meddling in someone else's business. The future of a child and the future of their children depend on your actions.