It’s happening everywhere. Abused kids are your neighbors. It’s you. It’s me.”
– Randy McGibeny, director of programs for ChildSafe
Randy’s words have haunted me ever since I sat down with him, ChildSafe President and CEO Kim Abernethy, Director of Development Cathy Siegel, and the other members of the dedicated team at ChildSafe, a nonprofit organization here in San Antonio.
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and it’s time we started talking about this taboo topic.
But, wait. Child abuse is happening everywhere?
Let me share some sobering statistics with you:
Last year in Bexar County, there were 5,846 confirmed child victims of abuse or neglect. And while that number is horrifying it’s just as shocking to learn that only one in ten abused children ever makes an outcry, meaning thousands more children in and around San Antonio experience abuse each year than ever report it. 1/3 of those children will become abused again.
One in four girls and one in six boys will be abused before the age of 18. 75% of the children who are seen at ChildSafe are sexually abused.
There is so much good happening in San Antonio, but [child abuse] hangs over our head. We need to be on top of this.”
– Kim Abernethy, CEO ChildSafe
To bring awareness to this incredibly important issue in our community, ChildSafe created the Cardboard Kids campaign:
This April, ChildSafe is partnering with businesses, clubs, organizations and individuals to decorate and display a Cardboard Kid for each confirmed case of child abuse that was reported in 2013 — 5,846 children. They will be displayed all over the city on April 3rd to kick off Child Abuse Awareness Month.”
If you see a Cardboard Kid around San Antonio on Thursday, April 3, please read the page taped to the back. Then, take a picture of the Cardboard Kid and share him or her on your social networks with the hashtag #CardboardKidsSA.
What is ChildSafe?
Before ChildSafe, children had to retell and relive their abuse over and over again to many different people to try to get help and to stop the perpetrator. ChildSafe’s objective is for a child to only have to tell his or her story ONCE. They accomplish this by employing the skills of forensic interviewers who use top-notch recording equipment. ChildSafe brings all of the relevant agencies (their partners, law enforcement groups, legal teams) together to achieve a common goal: to put the perpetrator in jail.
ChildSafe also provides a range of services for child survivors of abuse and neglect and their protective family members, including forensic interviews, crisis intervention, case management, individual, group and family therapy and even adventure therapy to aid in healing child victims.
The reason why children come to ChildSafe is very sad, but children are resilient and [with intervention] can do really well. ChildSafe has lots of success stories.”
– ChildSafe CEO Kim Abernethy
Watch for Cardboard Kids all over San Antonio on April 3 and help us spread the word:
Child abuse occurs across every demographic; it has no borders – It’s Happening Everywhere.
Important resources regarding child abuse:
Know someone who needs help? Call ChildSafe at 210-675-9000.