MADISON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - A local crisis center is hoping to educate people about the lasting effects of domestic violence on children. The Family Crisis Center in Rexburg helps victims of abuse in Jefferson, Madison, Fremont and Clark Counties.
Chloe Aponte, a representative of the Family Crisis Center, says they helped over 200 victims last year.
"80.5% of our victims, which is primary victims, is 286 clients served in 2022. So that's typically a caregiver. Typically women that are coming into our center, 80% of those came in because of domestic abuse," Aponte said.
Aponte adds that number is only going up.
"We saw over the past three years a 50% increase in all of our services, but specifically for crisis intervention, shelter and housing, and food. All of those went up exponentially. And for housing and shelter, 237% increase over the past three years. So that's people that are coming in seeking services and need housing because of domestic abuse as their primary reason."
Oftentimes, when a mom is being abused her children, are also victims of the abuse as well. Aponte said they have helped many kids in their domestic abuse cases as well.
"237 secondary victims in 2022. So those are kids that are being exposed to that abuse as well."
She says part of the services they offer helps kids recover from the effects abuse can have on them.
"We do have a children's support group that runs at the same time as our domestic violence support group for Mom. That curriculum coordinates with both of those support groups. So kids are learning skills at their level to kind of stop that cycle of abuse for them in their own lives. "
Aponte is the Public Awareness Coordinator at the center and spends a lot of time interacting with kids in schools helping them understand how to recognize red flags in their relationships and be ready to report if they need to.
Rick Croft, the Director of programming for Madison Care, says the School Resource Officers in their schools try hard to be friends with the students attending Classes.
"Sometimes students can be a little intimidated or feel a little threatened because of a badge or sidearm or whatever. And but our officers don't want to, like, necessarily kind of be that intimidating person. They just want to be a casual. You can come up to me and talk with me and tell me, tell me anything. They really connect with our students."
He said they try to make sure to have a connection with students to make the reporting of abuse an easier situation for the student.
As part of the Madison Cares Program's education series, Croft says a topic that coincides with April being child abuse prevention month was needed to raise community awareness of the issue. "
We feel that it's important to present on topics like we are going to have tomorrow to educate our parents and educate our community on, for instance, you know, the signs and symptoms of child abuse. If you suspect child abuse, what's next? What do you do if you know, if you're just you're a mom and your child has said to you that their friend is making such and such comments, does that mom know what the proper channels are, what the next steps are to do?"
Croft says all are welcome to come to the class Wednesday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Croft just asks if you plan to attend, register beforehand. The class is free to attend but registering before, Croft says, allows for them to have a chair waiting for you as well. To register you can go here.