Idahoans Raise Concerns During National Child Abuse Prevention Month
POCATELLO, Idaho – Idahoans are standing up for children in April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Organizations across the state are displaying blue pinwheels – symbolizing not only the need for awareness of child abuse, but how people can help prevent it.
Shannon Gray, program manager for Stewards of Children Initiative at Bannock Youth Foundation in Pocatello, trains adults on child sexual abuse prevention. She says people should never consider abuse of a child something that is "none of their business."
"You might be that only person in a kid's life or around a kid who could step out, if you receive the education to do so,” she stresses. “So, it's a community issue – and we need to start understanding it as a community issue, so we can start preventing it together."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse by age 18.
Events are planned throughout the month, including in Sandpoint and Salmon, to promote adults' roles in ending child abuse, and people are wearing blue to highlight this important mission.
Gray says education is the key to prevention.
Signs of child abuse often include a sudden change in a child's behavior or an aversion to certain people in his or her life.
These signs can be hard to detect, and Gray says the biggest step after recognizing these signs is understanding more about the child's life.
"You're just really wanting to kind of peek into what's going on behind the scenes, and what's this behavior mean,” she explains. “You're just looking for subtle signs that something might be occurring, so you can then explore them."
Gray says abuse affects a child's entire life and has ramifications for society as well. She says spreading the message of prevention throughout communities helps empower people to realize that they can stop the abuse.