ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — April 1st marks the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month, and according to the Children's Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan, there are many ways you can help.
According to the center, One in Ten children will be a victim of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, and 60 percent of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone.
Allie Kibler-Campbell, a Prevention and Outreach Specialist with the center, says that while it may be a difficult subject to talk about, it's important to have the conversations to prevent future abuse.
"We always say morally, everyone is a mandated reporter," Kibler-Campbell said. "So whether you legally are or not, we should all consider ourselves mandated reporters, we should all speak up if we say something, you know, children are some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. And if we aren't looking out for them, nobody else might be right, you might be the only person that ever notices that abuse or neglect."
In an interview with Fox 17, Kibler-Campbell reiterated the importance of speaking out about this abuse.
"Child abuse in general is a really difficult topic to talk about, and even just bring up in normal conversation," Kibler-Campbell said. "But it's important to do that, because that's really kind of the first step towards preventing abuse, is being willing to acknowledge that it exists, and then also being willing to talk about it and face those hard facts, so that then we can start talking about some solutions or things that we can do to actually prevent it."
The center is doing a lot to advocate for child abuse prevention, kicking off the month with Wear Blue Day, encouraging everyone who is able to wear blue and raise awareness.
"Blue is the National color for Child Abuse Prevention, so that's happening throughout the nation," Kibler-Campbell said. "And then just several events and following our social media beat would be the best way to kind of find out what we're doing throughout the month."
More information on how to raise awareness this month is available at the Child Welfare Information Gateway.