April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April has officially been declared Child Abuse Prevention Month in Walton County and the City of Monroe. According to the Children’s Defense Fund’s most recent State of America’s Children report, there are 1,854 confirmed cases of child abuse and/or neglect each day in America. The Georgia Family Connection Partnership reports that there were 208 substantiated cases of child abuse and/or neglect in Walton County in 2016.

However, children may delay or never make a disclosure of their abuse, and sometimes formal reports of child abuse are not submitted to law enforcement or the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that reported cases of child abuse may underestimate the true occurrence and estimates that 1 in 4 American children experience some form of child maltreatment in their lifetimes. According to Darkness to Light, a national nonprofit that works to prevent child abuse, around 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday and only 38 percent of child victims will disclose their abuse. Victims of child abuse are significantly more likely to experience emotional, psychological, health, and behavioral issues and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.

Fortunately, with a strong support system and effective counseling, children are able to heal from physical and sexual abuse. A Child’s Voice Child Advocacy Center in Social Circle, Ga. provides that strong support system.

A Child’s Voice Child Advocacy Center serves children and their families in both Walton and Newton Counties when there are allegations of abuse. A Child’s Voice utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to coordinating care for families with the help of law enforcement, DFCS, the District Attorney’s Office, and mental health counselors. On site, A Child’s Voice conducts child-friendly Forensic Interviews and Medical Examinations and cares for families by providing emotional support and connecting them to needed resources in the community. In 2017, the center responded to 132 cases of child physical or sexual abuse in Walton County. Through these efforts, children and their families are provided the necessary services to begin the healing process.

The center also seeks to spread awareness about child abuse and teach citizens how to recognize the signs and properly respond to child abuse. A Child’s Voice invites all residents of Walton and Newton Counties to participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month by attending training and awareness events put on by the center.

A free Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children prevention and response training and dinner will be offered to community members on Monday, April 30th from 6-8 pm. The same training will be offered to professionals on Wednesday, April 25th from 9:00-11:30 am. For more information and to register, please visit www.achildsvoicecac.org/training.

For more information about A Child’s Voice and these events, call 770-464-0082, email achildsvoicecac@gmail.com, or visit their website at www.achildsvoicecac.org.

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