AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) – Today is the 16th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference in Amarillo. The conference is working to bring the community together and educate them on prevention and early detection of a child in need. The Texas Panhandle is above the state average for reported and confirmed child abuse cases. Last year 4 children died in the panhandle from abuse and 171 children lost their lives statewide.
Early prevention is key in child abuse cases, the earlier you catch the warning signs the more likely you are to save a child from suffering for a long period of time. With early intervention counseling, they are more likely to overcome the abuse.
A big issue is reporting. Some people think that only law enforcement can report abuse. However, the law states that if you expect abuse you are required to make the call. Its an easy anonymous call to make and it could save a child from abuse.
Don Nicholson, who is on the steering committee for the Prevention Conference says, “Be aware and report! Even if you see something that is not quite right with a parent or adult and a child or another child with a child. then let somebody know about it. We have an 800 number and we will do an investigation, its always better to be safe than sorry”.
Knowing the signs of abuse can save a child’s life and the volunteers for the child abuse prevention conference are working with the community to help recognize and stop that abuse. Warning signs of abuse are not always bruises. Sometimes they are little changes that may go unnoticed. Be aware, an overwhelming amount of abuse cases are someone that child knows or they have grown up with. It is not the stranger danger that is causing a lot of child abuse, it is people they know.
If you are a parent or a teacher look for a change. If they are withdrawn in the classroom or at home, or if there is a change in their language or physical changes that may have not been noticed before. They may not be getting the food, nutrition or medical care they need to be a growing healthy child and your alertness to these symptoms could help save the life of a child.
This years conference talks about child pornography and trafficking issues. Abuse is consistent around the US and here in the Panhandle. However with new technology it is becoming easier to take advantage of children, but the new technology also helps law enforcement find and catch online predictors.
Human trafficking is harder to detect here in the panhandle because of Interstate 40. The highway makes harder to notice something out of the ordinary and experts at the conference will be talking about noticing and preventing human trafficking. Experts around the panhandle are working with the community to keep our children safe.
If you see a child you think could be in trouble, YOU need to make the call. If you do see something out of the ordinary call the tip line at 1-800-252-5400.