By LYNDSAY MACH, NEWS3 Reporter
MACOMB, Illinois – April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Western Illinois Regional Council in Macomb has been holding events to raise awareness.
These events include “Hands Around the Courthouse” and The Clothesline Project to help spread the word not only for the kids but for those close to them as well.
“These crimes don’t just affect the survivors,” WIRC Victim Service Public Relations Manager Jamie Roth said. “It affects all of their loved ones and all the people that care about them as well.”
An estimated one in seven children have experienced some form of abuse or neglect in the past year across the United States. Seventy-six percent of the perpetrators were parents of the survivors. In the midst of the pandemic, the rate of child abuse in the United States has gone up 300 percent.
“Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the rates of abuse are going up because survivors are in close prolonged contact with their abusers, especially children,” Roth said.
Roth said you don’t need to be a professional to help survivors of child abuse. There are simple ways that you can make a big impact on them.
“Start by believing when anyone discloses that they have experienced abuse,” Roth said.
For professional help, there is the counseling center at Western Illinois University as well as services provided by the WIRC. WIRC Victim Services offers counseling both virtual and in person, a 24-hour crisis line, programs and educational courses to help child abuse survivors and their loved ones. For more information, go online to wirpc.org/victim-services/.