April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The 20th annual Child Abuse Awareness Month kickoff breakfast was held at the Log Cabin in Holyoke Friday morning.

“It completely rocked our world.” 

Belchertown resident Melissa Weise said life changed for her family when her son told her he had been a victim to child abuse by her ex-husband. As a result of the incident, Melissa and her son went to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Northampton, a place that offers services for abuse victims and their families.

“It’s a comfortable space where you don’t feel like you’re being interrogated like every other place,” she said.

Since the Children’s Advocacy Center opened in 2006, they’ve helped nearly 2,000 children in Hampshire and Franklin County.

Hundreds gathered at The Log Cabin in Holyoke for the 20th annual Child Abuse Awareness Month Kickoff Breakfast Friday morning.

One of the attendees was Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan. In 2018, 453 cases were referred to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit for investigation. Those cases involved 554 victims, which resulted in 226 offenders being charged with offenses against children. 

In Hampshire County alone there are 2,500 reports of child abuse every year. It’s suspicious and they respond to them, but it happens every day and it’s something that is silent and we have to recognize,” Sullivan said. 

Everyone who attended the breakfast said that when it comes to child abuse, it’s important to speak up and listen.

“If someone tells you something believe them and tell other people,” Weise said. “Child abuse happens because it gets buried and the more we can shine a light on it, the more we can help people resolve it.”
 

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