Raising Awareness About Child Abuse Prevention

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Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) About one in ten children in the U.S. will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday, 93% of them are abused by someone they know and trust.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month – a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.

"Last year CARES saw over 250 children, through just this center alone, due to allegations of abuse," said Anne Tierney, Program Coordinator, CARES.

CARES, which stands for children at risk evaluation services, is a child advocacy center.

"We're a nationally accredited center that works with multidisciplinary partners such as law enforcement and child protection, and prosecution and medical, and mental health professionals when there is an investigation of child abuse," Tierney explained.

CARES coordinates the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse while helping abused children heal.

"We provide what's called forensic interviews, which are child abuse interviews with a child and a trained interviewer to discuss the allegations of abuse," Tierney said.

CARES also provides child abuse prevention trainings and acts as a resource to the community to help answer questions about abuse.

Preventing child abuse sometimes starts by helping yourself.

When the big and little problems of everyday life pile up – take time out.

"Giving the parents a time out is sometimes as important as giving a child a timeout," explained Dr. Kathryn Reese, Medical Director, CARES.

This can often be done by turning to a friend, neighbor or relative for help.

In Idaho all adults are considered mandated reporters.

"If you suspect a child is being abused, not if you have proof, but if you just suspect it, it is your duty to call and report. You can call the 2–1–1 number, you can call your local law enforcement," said Dr. Reese.

As a mandated reporter, you're protected by immunity, which means the parent cannot come back and sue you for acting in good faith.

If you would like more information on child abuse prevention training, which is called Stewards of Children, contact CARES at 814-7750.