POSTED: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 12:38am
UPDATED: Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 9:25am
TYLER, TEXAS (KETK) — Child abuse is a growing problem in East Texas. Fortunately, local organizations are joining together to speak for the voiceless victims.
Wade French, Licensed Therapist tells us that prevention is the key.
The Children’s Advocacy Center in East Texas works with an international organization, Bikers Against Child Abuse - known as BACA.
BACA member aka Ditchwitch tell us, “We’re committed to helping abused children, we want to put them in a position where they feel empowered and we try to give that power back to the child by breaking those chains of abuse.”
The CAC gives BACA referrals for child services.
“For a child that has to go to court, they may offer court accompaniment, they may offer neighborhood awareness for the family if they feel that they are in danger in some sort,” Brenda Sanchez, Community Educator of CAC.
Sanchez says, our kids need to feel safe and CAC strives to do just that.
“1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in Smith County, and everyone should know what the statistics are and know that no one is immune to child abuse,” said Sanchez.
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, in East Texas there are close to 9,000 child abuse investigations in progress. More than 1,800 cases of neglect, and because of child abuse more than 1,600 children are in foster care.
French says, if our children are not getting the help they need there will be consequences.
“If you are a victim if severe child abuse and neglect, and it can be physical or emotional abuse these people are more likely to have drug and alcohol problems, they’re more likely to have serious mental health problem, they’re more likely to have criminal justice problems,” said French.