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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in Utah and Around the Nation

PHOTO: Reporting suspected child abuse and raising awareness of services available to help victims of abuse is the goal of a campaign underway in Utah and around the U.S. throughout the month of April. Photo courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse Utah.
PHOTO: Reporting suspected child abuse and raising awareness of services available to help victims of abuse is the goal of a campaign underway in Utah and around the U.S. throughout the month of April. Photo courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse Utah.
April 7, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - Raising awareness about the services available to help rescue victims of child abuse in Utah and around the nation is the goal of a national campaign underway this month.

Carrie Jensen, associate director of Prevent Child Abuse Utah, says National Child Abuse Prevention Month encourages victims and others to report cases of suspected child abuse, which she says comes in several forms.

"There's physical, sexual, neglect and emotional abuse," says Jensen. "The signs for each one are going to be slightly different, and some of them will have the same type of signs."

Jensen says signs of child abuse include sudden changes in behavior, physical bruises and broken bones, and an unclean or disheveled appearance. She says sexual abuse is the most common form of child abuse in Utah, whereas neglect is the most common form of abuse nationally.

According to Jensen, there are about 20,000 cases of suspected child abuse reported to child protective services and law enforcement agencies in Utah each year. She says some people are reluctant to make such reports, but notes everyone has a moral obligation to protect children.

"As an adult in a child's life, you need to do whatever you can to protect them and keep them safe," she says. "Whether it's reporting child abuse or referring them to services that you're already aware of yourself."

Each year in the United States, Jensen says there are an estimated 3.6 million cases of suspected child abuse reported.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT