FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Abuse is an ugly reality thousands of children in our area face. However, the Children’s Advocacy Center empowers children to find their voices.
“There are thousands of reports of child abuse that occur right here in our area,” Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County Executive Director Natalie Tibbs shared.
Though not every report of abuse comes to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County, Tibbs points out hundreds do. She says those children need an environment unlike what a sterile police station might provide to put kids more at ease.
“We’re just a neutral facility with professionals trained in the field of child abuse so that we can effectively respond to potentially traumatic experiences,” Tibbs said.
The serene surroundings of the CAC provide the calming environment children need to feel safe enough to open up about what they have encountered.
“We’ll often tell others it’s the worst story children may ever have to tell, but CACs are the best place for them to tell that,” Tibbs explained.
Abuse is also presents a vicious cycle that spins around like a pinwheel, leading to other dark and disturbing issues that can affect future generations.
“A third of children who are abused as children will grow to abuse their own children,” Tibbs said. “And so what we’re really trying to accomplish through the mental health process is that we’re breaking those cycles.”
April is designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month and you will likely see hundred of pinwheels bringing to light the troubling number of reported cases of abuse in our area.
“That’s the goal of the pinwheels,” Tibbs pointed out. “It’s just to create that visual reminder of how many cases that are, what we call, confirmed cases of abuse within our county and how many children and families that this does impact.”
While the statistics can appear bleak, Tibbs maintains there is hope to be found.
“The children broken by this world are often times the children who will grow to change it,” Tibbs said.
Nearly 9,000 children have come through the doors of the CAC since January of 2000. Click here to learn more about the organization and their efforts.