April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Billboard across Fort Wayne are bringing awareness to child abuse during the month of April.
The billboards were put up by Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, or SCAN.
A study by the Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau shows in 2017, Indiana has the second highest rate of child abuse cases, 18.6 children are abused per 1,000 in Indiana. The majority of those cases are children one and under.
“It’s a double-edged sword so to speak. But if we’re reporting it, we can get in and treat and support that quicker. So, we’re not having children staying in those situations for long periods of time, which creates more trauma, more adverse effects start to happen,” says Dee Szyndrowski, CEO of SCAN.
“People are making decisions in the home, you know, “How do I stay alive? How do I meet the basic needs of my family?” That creates a pressure cooker in the home,” Dee says.
She says that’s when bad decisions are made and can lead to child abuse.
During Child Abuse Awareness Month SCAN is reminding people of the warning signs of abuse, which goes beyond physical abuse.
“Looking for if a child seems for weary than normal, if they’re not getting the appropriate amount of food, if they seem hungry, or if they seem dirty. Those are some signs to be looking for. And of course, if they have bruises, that’s something to pay attention to, as well,” says Mandy Drakeford, Chief Philanthropy Officer for SCAN.
The walls of SCAN are lined with handprints of families who have reached out to the nonprofit after realizing they needed help before abuse happened.
“Anywhere from helping find childcare or a certain crisis that they need help dealing with, call us and we can help them figure it out before it gets to the point of child abuse,” says Mandy.
You can report child abuse 24/7 by calling (800) 800-5556.