April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, with efforts across the country to bring awareness to child abuse and ways to prevent it.
Research shows around 90 percent of abuse is perpetrated by someone the child and family knows and trusts. Strong communities play a key role in preventing child abuse. Part of that is knowing what to watch for and having the courage to make a report or to ask some questions when something seems against your instincts.
Sunlight Children’s Advocacy and Rights Foundation (SCARF) continues to work to bring awareness about child abuse through its outreach. Information about child abuse has been sent to businesses, schools and churches in Butler, Elk and Greenwood counties. Visits will be made to Douglass, Eureka and Madison to provide materials for adults and children.
Several schools and businesses participated in SCARF’s Sticker Campaign, “Every Child Matters.” They wore blue on April 8, which was recognized nationally as Wear Blue Day.
SCARF’s programs provide comfort and care to victims of child abuse. Sunlight Child Advocacy Center in El Dorado has served more than 1,200 children since opening in 2007.
"El Dorado's numbers are pretty high," SCARF Director Suzi Thien said at a recent meeting. "A big reason is location. We are right here and the law enforcement people have been incredible. They use us and hopefully we are providing them with a good service. We are just the facilitators."
Sunshine Children’s Home in Andover has served more than 560 children since its opening in 2014.
"Another important reason they come to the Sunlight Children's Home, our staff is incredible," she said. "The majority of the children I would say come to us at night and through the middle of the night. They welcome these children and they take care of them."
For more information on SCARF and resources on child abuse, visit SCARF’s Web site (www.scarfks.org).