Empowering Adults to Stop Abuse During Child-Abuse Prevention Month
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – One in 10 people will be sexually abused before age 18, and this month, groups are raising awareness on how Washingtonians can prevent child abuse from happening. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, an acknowledgment of the extreme burden physical and sexual abuse has on children.
Byron Manering is the executive director of Brigid Collins Family Support Center, an organization based in Bellingham and committed to ending child abuse. He says children who have been abused fare worse in school, are more likely to drop out or become drug users, and losing a child to the trauma or abuse affects all of society.
"We're missing just a huge amount of potential productivity and ideas and thoughts of our young children by the fact that so many are being abused," he said.
Organizations are displaying blue pinwheels this month to symbolize the healthy childhoods the prevention month looks to foster.
Manering's organization provides a number of programs to help adults get involved in ending child abuse. One of those programs in the Stewards of Children Initiative, which provides training in partnership with the national organization Darkness to Light. The training helps adults identify and react to signs of child abuse, and also empower them to understand their responsibility in ending abuse.
Manering says education is key and that the program has reached a lot of Washingtonians.
"We've got 6,000 citizens trained so far in that training and are expanding that out and have additional goals to increase that number over the next couple years, not only within our area but across the state," he explained.
There are 42 million survivors of sexual abuse in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.