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Local nonprofits weigh in on child abuse in eastern Idaho

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

As difficult as it is to talk about child abuse, it does happen in most communities. There are 3.3 millionincidents of child abuse that are reported every year in the United States. The U.S. is ranked the worst among developed countries, losing five children a day to child-abuse-related deaths.

As disturbing as those statistics are, there are a lot of local nonprofits in eastern Idaho doing their part in prevention.

Brianna Jones, the executive director of Help Incorporated, said prevention starts with a simple conversation.

Jones and her 5-year-old son, Grayson, have regular conversations about what’s appropriate and what’s not.

Shesaid having an open dialog with your children is crucial to teach them about personal boundaries and child abuse.

“It’s so important that we don’t turn our backs to abuse. It’s hard to watch and it’s hard to listen to but it’s happening, and it happens in our community,” said Jones.

According to Child Help, a national nonprofit, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in the United States. Statistics show one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old. For girls, it’s one in four.

“Here we probably see 95 percent of sexual abuse victims; however there is obviously physical abuse, emotional abuse, drug and endangered children, (and) children can be witnesses to domestic violence. So there are so many forms of abuse,” said Jones.

Jones admited talking about child abuse is not an easy thing, but she said if parents and caregivers believe their children, stand by them and work through the abuse, children are very resilient and can have healthy lives.

“We see very successful outcomes every single day, andI think if people can walk away with that message, that something bad has happened, but as a family we’ve dealt with it, we’ve learned from and we’ve moved on from it,” said Jones.

University Place in Idaho Falls is holding a symposium on child abuse prevention Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. It’s open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to Help Incorporated.

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