CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — On Thursday, the Harrison County Commission read a proclamation declaring April to be Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The room was packed with representatives from different agencies that deal with the issue, which is reflective of the fact that there is no such thing as a simple case of child abuse.
“It’s a very complex issue,” Jayne Landacre, executive director of the Harrison County Child Advocate Center said. “There’s no one agency or person that can combat that. The Child Advocacy Center brings together safety professionals from the community to address the issue.”
In Harrison County, the center involves sexual assault nurses with pediatric training from United Hospital Center, law enforcement agencies from local police departments up to the Sheriff’s Department and workers with the county prosecutor’s office.
Landacre said their purpose is to be with abused children and their protective parents from the time they disclose a crime until well after their is a resolution to the matter in court.
She explained they kept busy last year as they “investigated 129 allegations of child sexual abuse. We had roughly 30 individuals convicted of acts against children.”
For those wishing to assist in the efforts of the center, Landacre believes educating one’s self and becoming involved in you community would be the best thing to do.
“I would strongly encourage everyone to become familiar with the signs of sexual abuse and physical abuse, emotional abuse. Of course, physical abuse is usually pretty easy to spot. The others are not,” she said. “Volunteer with agencies. [Court Appointed Special Advocates] welcomes volunteer to help children through the courts system in foster care cases.”
More information on child abuse prevention and the center can be found at harrisoncountychildadvocacycenter.com or by calling 304-622-0375.
The 24 hours Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline can be reached at 1-800-352-6513.