DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- It happens more than we might like to believe—child abuse. Which is why each year the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center holds a training session on this difficult and painful topic.
Accurate child abuse statistics are difficult to gather because most victims don’t report, which is why the training stressed that “speaking up” about abuse is the key to changing the status quo.
It can be a topic most people avoid at all costs—including victims.
“Every ten seconds a child is abused here in America, and so we know that not to be an accurate number because of what I just said, because those children do not report the first time and some don’t report at all," said guest speaker Kevin Mcneil, president and CEO of The Twelve Project, which advocates on victims behalf.
However, in order to get more victims the help they need, the stigma must go away.
“I hate to say this but we don’t live in a victim-friendly society. A lot of times we blame the victim, and when they do come forward, they go through a process of proving their victimhood," Mcneil said.
For the CAC, learning more about trauma and how to cope is the most critical.
“It’s important because continuing to educate ourselves and raise awareness in our community is one of the best tools we have in recognizing and dealing with abuse and trauma," said executive director of the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center Terri Dubose.
Those who work closely with victims on a day-to-day basis agree that these training sessions are useful.
“The impact this has on our community when it comes to trauma maybe not being counseled or whatever," explained Dothan Police Department juvenile unit investigator Lacy Schulmerich, "when it comes to drug abuse, violent crime, other you know, other crimes in our area that may go back to this type of trauma.”
If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can look on the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center's website: www.southeastcac.org