By Daniel Morgan, Editor
Starting in 1983, April is recognized across the nation as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month (also known as National Child Abuse Prevention Month). The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was passed in 1974, and now Americans continue to advocate for the well-being of children.
There are numerous events and activities happening all over West Liberty University’s campus to raise awareness for an array of causes. Members of the Criminal Justice Program and the CJ Society as well as the Social Work Club are recognizing Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
This Friday, April 7, the campus community is encouraged to wear blue to both support victims and raise awareness for child abuse, according to WLU Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Keith Bell. The Social Work Club is also selling blue pinwheels to place around the quad in support of the cause.
“Child abuse awareness month is important for many different reasons. As criminal justice majors, we have a want for helping people,” said CJ Society President Hannah Walters. “Children who are victims of abuse often times cannot speak for themselves, so that’s where we step in. We want to educate people as much as possible of the warning signs and symptoms of child abuse, so that way they can do something.”
Bell also gave some more insight into the university’s involvement with Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
“The criminal justice society, made up of criminal justice undergraduate majors and minors, as well as criminology graduate students, has spread the word about Darkness to Light Trainings held on campus and in the community in the months of March and April,” Bell said.
The training, an annual occurrence since 2011-2012, identifies warning signs of abuse as well as ways to report it. “Since then, with the help of the Criminal Justice Society President Hannah Walters and the active members of the group, awareness campaigns are spread via email, Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth,” Bell added.
“We hope at the end of this month to have made a difference, even in one person’s day by educating them on this topic,” Walters said. “That way, they can step in and help a child if needed. The statistics are not always easy to read, but they are important to know. We placed different statistics on various tables in the union, and hope to do more before the month is over.”
The CJ Society will also be raffling baskets in the Student Union during the month to raise money for various charitable causes; blue ribbons will be available for anyone who stops by the table to learn more information.
Education is the main driving force behind these efforts. All are encouraged to learn something during the month and then take that information to advocate for child safety and protection.
“If anyone knows or suspects child abuse is present, then they need to report it,” Walters said, “That one phone call can save a child’s life.”
Photo credit: Daniel Morgan