National Child Abuse Prevention Month: advocates explain the warning signs
TRI-CITIES, Wash. – President Trump proclaimed April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month to bring attention to the shocking statistics surrounding child abuse.
Local advocates are also working to raise awareness about this prevalent issue here at home.
Counselors at the Support Advocacy and Resources Center in the Tri-Cities said they've treated 312 child abuse victims in the past year, and those are just the incidents that are reported.
Counselors said some signs of possible abuse include, frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, burns, bites, broken bones or black eyes.
Look to see if injuries appear to have a partner, such as marks form a hand or a belt. Look for fading bruises or other marks noticeable after an absence from school.
Advocates said there’s behavioral indicators, such as wearing inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.
Victims of abuse will often seem withdrawn and/or exhibit aggressive-behavioral extremes. Victims might give bizarre explanations for injuries or shy away from touch, flinch at sudden movements, or seem afraid as if waiting for something to happen.
"Because a lot of times kids don't come up and say things unless the feel safe. Often, they are feeling safe with their teacher, so they might want to say something to them,” said Denise Martin, prevention specialist. “However, it’s also important to notice any changes in children’s behavior."
Indicators in older children include, self-destructive behavior, chronic runaway, and little respect for others.
SARC advocates said they want more people to know that they’re a resource for children and victims of abuse in the community. You can learn more about signs of abuse at their website.
Coming up this Saturday, April 21 is SARC's 12th Annual Strides of Strength Walk in Kennewick.
The walk is for community members who would like to show their support to victims of all crimes.
The walk is free and open to the public and they'll be offering cash prizes for groups with the largest attendance.
The free registration and check in starts at 10:30 a.m. where you will get your raffle tickets. Then, at 11:00 a.m. they will start the opening ceremonies and they will share a survivor’s story. The walk begins directly after.