April has been proclaimed as Child Abuse Prevention Month for Starke County, thanks to the Commissioners and the organization Prevent Child Abuse Starke County, operating under the Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (CADA). Ruth Matsey from CADA spoke to the audience and the Commissioners in regards to their proclamation against child abuse. Mary Armstrong-Smith, Community Partners Director of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, also addressed the audience and expressed her concern of child abuse.
“Well, the group approached the commissioners because prevention of child abuse and neglect is something that is extremely important. A lot of the American public still kinda believes that prevention doesn’t work, that a certain amount of abuse is inevitable, but our belief is that the majority of child abuse and neglect is preventable, as long as the entire community is behind it. And getting elected officials behind it in a public forum is a really powerful way of getting that message out there,” said Armstrong-Smith.
Matsey told those present that child abuse is 100% preventable. It can be prevented by mentoring families, giving neighbors a helping hand, or even discussing it with friends and neighbors to prevent any conflicts from the start.
“Well, one thing we do know is that child abuse and neglect is a serious problem. Most people understand it to be a serious problem, but they don’t know what to do about it. They’re looking for something to do, and one of the things that we suggest is that they get involved with their local prevention council. You don’t have to be a social worker or a law enforcement officer to make a difference; you don’t have to have a college degree. What you have to have is a willingness to learn and a heart for service. And that’s what we’re looking for people to do is for everyone to step up, because prevention is a community-wide effort,” said Armstrong-Smith.
The Commissioners signed a proclamation presented by Matsey and Armstrong-Smith proclaiming April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. A similar proclamation was signed by Knox Mayor, Rick Chambers.