Today law enforcement, D.H.R. workers, counselors and therapists from across the Wiregrass came together for the sake of child advocacy.
Child abuse can be a hidden problem, but it's happening behind closed doors more than people know.
"It's all over the place, it's just one of those things we have to deal with as law enforcement. It's one of those things we see, we don't like to see but it's out there. We like to provide a service so we can help the victims," Investigator Mason Bynum said.
But in order to offer this service, professionals need to be on the same page.
"However with the culture changes, technology changes, education changes, we have a big turnover of people who do this as first responders," Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy, Executive Director Sherryl Walker said.
That's why the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center hosts a training seminar each year.
"Training is always helpful and working with other team members. Henry County's a small county, Houston County's a big county. They experience things at a different level than we do," Social Services Representative Beverly Miller said.
Funding for the seminar is provided through a Children's Justice Task Force Grant, making it affordable and convenient.
It also brings national experts to educate advocates from Henry, Houston, Geneva and Dale counties.
"They offer some great training and we're part of a big team, so we like to come together and try to make it better for our children in the Wiregrass," Bynum said.
But it's not just about the training, these advocates want to let children know that it's okay to come forward if they’re being abused.
"Tell someone and if that person doesn't help, tell someone else. It's not their fault., they've done nothing to cause the abuse. If the person who is abusing them is threatening them or they feel fearful that something will happen if they tell the truth, they should still tell,” Miller said.
Walker says along with social workers and law enforcement, teachers, physicians, counselors and childcare providers are all required to report child abuse or neglect.
If you know a child suffering abuse call your local police department or contact the Child Advocacy Center at 334-671-1779.
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