Communities get involved to prevent child abuse

Communities work to prevent child abuse

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Preventing child abuse is something everyone can find important and agree on. And local communities are now getting involved.

One in ten children will experience abuse or sexual abuse by the time they turn 18 according to Shannon Fox. She is with "Stewards of Children" and is hoping to stop that. She says 90 percent of the time, the abuser is someone the child and their family knows.

"It's not the stranger dangers," Fox said. "We have to start being aware that this is prevalent in our community. Talking about it. Understanding signs and how to act on those signs. Or, you know, how to react responsibly. Those are all very, very important things that we don't normally learn."

There are both physical and behavioral signs to look for. Physical signs include bruising, redness, and sores. Some behavioral signs are acting out, withdrawing, bullying, mental health issues, and drug abuse. Fox says to be careful when approaching a child you suspect is being abused.

"You don't want to ask targeted questions," she said. "You want to ask open ended questions. The training teaches you how to do that. It teaches you how to make the reports if there's a discovery, if there's a disclosure and how to handle that disclosure, or if you're just suspicious."

Fremont County EMS recently took part in the prevention training. They now hope to get the community involved and work together to stop abuse.

"This is something that can help them," Fox said. "It can help their child, it can help their community beyond just stopping this abuse. We have a lot of community and public health issues that might stem from an issue like this. So it's very important."

There are a couple training dates coming up that are free for the public to attend. One will be held July 17th in Ashton, and another July 25th in St. Anthony.

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