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Fit And Well Idaho: Child Abuse Prevention Month

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By Brittany Cooper

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Here in Idaho, 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused and more than 90% of these victims know their perpetrator.

You've probably seen these pinwheels around town. Well, they're the most visible representation of child abuse prevention month.

"One thing in Idaho everyone is a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse and so it's really important that if you do suspect child abuse, you call and report it," explains Anne Tierney, Forensic Interviewer, CARES.

Tierney interviews the children when there's been allegations of child abuse. She says the number of children seen at Idaho Child Advocacy Centers has increased by 31% since 2009.

In 2013, 40% of the victims seen at these centers were between 0 and 6 years old. 36% of the victims were between the ages of 7 and 12 and the remaining 24%, 13 to 18 year olds.

Tierney adds, "some of the signs include if the child has unexplained injuries, changes in behavior, regression into earlier behaviors, some inappropriate sexual behaviors and acting out and different fears that aren't easily explained."

One way of gaining a broader understanding of child abuse awareness is through stewards of children training.

"The stewards of children training gives a lot of information and education about current child abuse statistics and things like that, but it also challenges you to adopt new ways of life so that your child and the children you interact with have less of a chance of becoming victims of child abuse."

We'll be taking a closer look at this topic on "Connections", scheduled for April 26th and 27th on KSVT.

Then the following week marks a Stewards of Children Training for adults. Held April 30th from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., CARES will host this training, the cost is $10. Please call 814-7750 for more information.

To report child abuse and neglect, please call 1-855-552-KIDS.

The five steps to protecting the children include: learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly.