This post is a continuation of a previous post called The laws for our children . . . If you haven’t already read it, take a look.
For the purpose of supporting all of the laws for the crimes against children that I listed in the previous post, the United States has the following number of courts and infrastructure that is responsible for adjudicating legal disputes and dispense justice in accordance with the law. (It is understandable that the courts in the United States are not just dealing with criminal acts against children.) Besides the courts there are also 800,000 law enforcement personnel in the U.S.
94 US District Courts (trial courts)
1 Court of International Trade (trial court)
13 US Courts of Appeals Circuit Courts (intermediate appellate courts)
1 Supreme Court of the United States (final appellate court)
1 US Court of Federal Claims
1 US Tax Court (19 judges, traveling)
94 US Bankruptcy Courts
1 US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
1 US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
1 United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
51 state supreme courts
2,992 county courts
16 borough courts in Alaska
64 parishes with courts in Louisiana
[Big Sigh! Finally to my point.] So I am sure there is a little curiosity about why this post is including these numerous lists. For one thing, the lists serve as a resource list. You are welcome to use it for that purpose. For me the real reason for showing these lists is to present to you the magnitude of infrastructure that is in place for the protection of children. Yet why are we seeing the headlines in the news of molestation, abduction, abuse, or pornography, to name a few? Recently I was watching the news and there was a story about a child that was missing. The story said there were over 800,000 children missing in the United States. I was shocked to hear how big the number was. The following are some statistics that we need to pay attention to:
- 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year
- 2,000 children are reported missing each day.
- 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
- 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members
- 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping.
- According to a 1997 study, Case Management for Missing Children Homicide Investigation, the murder of an abducted child is a rare event but, an estimated 100 such incidents occur in the United States each year.
- During Federal fiscal year 2007, an estimated 3.2 million referrals, involving the alleged maltreatment of approximately 5.8 million children, were referred to CPS agencies.
- An estimated 1,760 children died due to child abuse or neglect
- 771,700 children were victims of neglect
- A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
- Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
- It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
If these number don’t shock you then let’s talk about dollars. The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 was $104 billion.
This is my concern. We have laws to protect children and to punish the perpetrators of sexual abuse, abduction, assault, murder, molestation, etc. The United States has an intricate court system for ensuring that laws are abided by and if they are not then the perpetrators are given a punishment. We also have numerous law enforcement individuals that protect the children and catch the perpetrators, so that the court system can identify the offense, determine if they are guilty, and provide a punishment. And finally we have many public and private organizations who have identified we have a problem and they have made it their goal to help the children that are victims.
My point is, with this whole infrastructure that is in place, how is it that crimes against children continue day after day? It is my belief there is nothing worse than hurting a child. Children represent purity and hope. They bring joy to the world. They are our future. Yet, we are obviously not addressing the issues correctly. I feel like the infrastructure is just putting a band-aid on an open wound, and the wound is spewing blood, which represents the harm being done to all of these children.
I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that the current system is not working and is very reactionary versus being proactive. I believe we need to work proactively to prevent these atrocities from happening to our children.
This country hates the word “profiling,” but I think this is one of the steps we need to do to prevent these crimes from occurring. Perhaps, profiling should be on both the perpetrator and the victim. This country needs to do everything it can to protect the children.
Our country is paying billions of dollars chasing terrorists all around the world. I think we need to put a similar plan within our own country. These criminals are terrorists to our children. They exist within the boundaries of our country, within the jurisdiction of the law, and live in the houses in our neighborhoods. I challenge you to be a part of the change. Save our children. Become more aware of how much this criminal activity exists. Contact your congressmen and ask them to invest in our future and our children by making it a priority to eliminate the terrorists of our children. Encourage them to create a task force to identify other methods of preventing these crimes against the children. If you are able, volunteer some time to help an organization that strives to help children. And probably most importantly, pay attention to the people in your neighborhood or your community. These criminals live there. And more importantly pay attention to the children. Listen to them. They need our help to be safe. They need our help to remain children.