Local advocates and experts kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month
Prevention in Partnership is the focus for 2023
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month - and advocates for children say community partnerships go hand in hand with prevention.
Rachel Chruszczyk is with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois - she says too often people view abuse and neglect as something that happens somewhere else, rather than in their own neighborhoods and towns.
"It happens in our schools, it happens in our places of worship, in youth groups, clubs, sports programs, and among our family and friends. We need to talk about how it happens, who is at risk, and who is doing the abusing."
Doctor Kathy Swafford is a pediatrician who works with the SIU School of Medicine's Children's Medical and Mental Health Resource Network. She says kids are resilient - but they need strong leadership from adults in their lives to show them they are valued, and they have a safe person to help them.
"Children learn by seeing the example that we set as adults. Are we providing an appropriate example for children as a citizen, as someone who has religious beliefs, as someone who is a parent who cares for them, or a caring adult?"
Experts say abuse, neglect, and human trafficking happen every day, in every community. If you suspect abuse or neglect, or need help, you can call 1-800-25-ABUSE.