OPEN HOUSE: PRCAC kicks of child abuse awareness month

Published 10:04 pm Monday, April 2, 2018

The Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center in Troy kicked off Child Abuse Prevention Month on Monday at the CAC on West Orange Street with a different format from previous years.

Camille Downing, CAC director, said rather than kicking off the month of awareness and fundraising with the signing of a proclamation, the CAC invited the agencies that support the CAC and pastors from local churches as well as members of the community for an informal time of food and fellowship.

“Mayor Jason Reeves and the Troy City Council signed a proclamation declaring the month of April Child Abuse Prevention Month,” Downing said. “And, we are very appreciative because child abuse is a community concern. The community must be involved in the prevention of child abuse because the best way to stop child abuse is before it starts.”

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Reeves said the Pike Regional CAC provides a safe environment for children to talk about the trauma in their lives.

“The environment of the CAC makes children feel safe and that makes it easier for them to talk about their situations,” Reeves said. “I am proud that Calvary Baptist Church made the church building available for a facility for infants, children and families in crisis situations. The CAC is meeting a need in our community and we appreciate their dedication and commitment to these children.”

Investigator Troy Johnson, Pike County Sheriff’s Department, said the CAC provides a place where a forensic interviewer can question children who have been in abusive situations one-on-one while law enforcement officers observe on camera.

The interviewer will take a break and give law enforcement officers an opportunity to suggest questions that could assist with their role in the investigation.

This type of interview makes it possible for a child to be interviewed only once. Multiple interviews would be an injustice to a child, Johnson said.

The Rev. A.J. Jones, Dunn’s Chapel AME Church, was one of the ministers who visited the CAC and sat in a designated room to pray for children and their families who are dealing with abusive situations.

“I am an advocate for children,” Jones said. “Many of the children who are abused are African Americans. The reason is that they come from single-family situations. Many times, their parents are young and not well education and child abuse can arise from those home conditions.”

Jones said churches should step forward and lead the way in the prevention of child abuse.

“Child abuse is a community problem,” he said. “We must all do our part to stop it.”