Child Abuse Prevention month, what you can do to help
DELMARVA- As we round out April, we’re checking in with the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center about Child Abuse Prevention Month, and what community members can do to make sure every child is safe, protected, and supported.
We’re told Child Abuse Prevention month helps to raise awareness of an ongoing problem, child abuse. A coordinator with the child advocacy center tells us last year they dealt with 690 child abuse-related cases. According to the current trend, they’re already seeing an increase of 24% in cases this year than last.
She says being cautious of the signs can help lower that number such as noticing a change in a child’s behavior, poorer school performance, more argumentative or defiant, or the child doesn’t want to see someone they used to be close with.
“Anybody that suspects child abuse or neglect, report it, air on the side of caution, it’s not worth taking that risk,” says Cheryll Bissell, a Coordinator with the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center.
Bissell tells 47 ABC, that you can’t always see the signs, but giving kids a safe space to open up to you could be life-changing.
“Have those difficult critical conversations with the children in their lives, talk about how they’re in charge of their body to that body protection and safety protection, it’s okay to say no.” She adds, “We do want to make sure that every child is safe and feels protected in this community and it requires the community support.” With kids back in school, Bissell says teachers and faculty are some of the major players in getting the information about potential child abuse cases.
If you see blue pinwheels around the Wicomico area, Bissell tells us they represent the amount of child abuse cases, and the goal to help children enjoy their youth, and not have to endure abuse anymore.
If you’re in the Wicomico area and you suspect child abuse or neglect, report it immediately by calling 410-713-3900.
For more information on services the Child Advocacy Center has to offer, click here.