April is Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month

Shaquiena Davis

The most traumatizing incidents happens within one’s own home. Some are unaware. Some are simply afraid, but with the help of Portage County Children’s Advocacy Center, they will provide a multi-disciplinary response in favor of your family on child sexual abuse.

Alongside of them are Children Services, Law Enforcement, Mental Health agencies and more which also helps provide the need and support for children and their families.

Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center, Lucy Wagener said, “the reason why we came about was because when it comes to child sexual abuse there are many many reasons why a child doesn’t want to disclose this.”

Some of Wagener’s reasons were concerned with the fact that most of these abuses occur within the children’s’ own home, whether it be a “aunt, uncle, mother, father, sister, brother, stepdad, cousin…,” or more.

“Last year, 70-percent were related to the alleged perp, and 62-percent lived with them,” says Wagener.

Though Children Services deal with a wider range of child abuse and neglect which the Children Services Supervisor of Portage County, Nicholas Gribble explains, “we get about three-hundred and fifty reports a month, and a hundred of those get open for investigations.”

With those numbers either increasing or decreasing which Wagener says is no clear answer to that. “It’s hard to know if the abuse itself is increasing because all we see are the number of kids who are and where someone has come forward on their behalf,” says Wagener.

Which is why getting the community involved is very much important, so that they can take a stand and help prevent these abuses from happening.

“If a report doesn’t happen, if people aren’t made aware of not only how prevalent it is, but what the effects are of it and if they’re not aware that hey you can do something about this then things will go unnoticed,” said Wagener.

Children Services Supervisor, Kaylyn Kane explains that Child Abuse Awareness Month is important because, “it brings awareness to the community and what our kids are facing when they experience abuse and neglect, and how we can help them in different ways.”

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing any Child Sexual Abuse or Child Abuse, feel free to contact Portage County Children’s Advocacy Center, or Children Services.

Shaquiena Davis is a TV2 Correspondent. Contact Shaquiena at [email protected]