April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and advocates both locally and around Illinois are pushing for prevention.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has teamed up with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois to encourage Illinois residents to join together and help prevent abuse. Each year, about 125,000 children around the state are abused or neglected, with one in five abused before the age of 18.
Locally, the Carrie Lynn Children's Center receives about 600 referrals a year. Advocates encourage people to get to know their community and talk to their children about abuse.
"If you haven't already, talk to them about body safety and what to do," Carrie Lynn Children's Center Executive Director Kathy Pomahac says. "You have to start the discussion in order for them to feel safe enough to come to you with a concern. You have to not be afraid to talk about it."
DCFS Director Richard H. Calica also recommends reporting any suspected abuse or neglect.
"As many as 100,000 victims of abuse and neglect go unreported to our hotline each year, taking a terrible toll on them, their futures, and the future of every community in Illinois," Calica says. "Today, we remind every Illinoisan that they have a social responsibility to keep kids safe by acting to report suspected abuse and neglect."
If you suspect child abuse of any kind, report it by calling 1-800-25-ABUSE.
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