Lubbock Residents Take A Stand Against Child Abuse - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/12/08

Lubbock Residents Take A Stand Against Child Abuse

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More children in Lubbock County are victims of abuse than in any of the 15 surrounding counties. Child Protective Services for this region received more than 200 alleged child abuse cases just last month.

"When it happens, you don't know where to go or who to turn to. You just want to scream," Michelle Smith, the mother of an abused child, said.

Saturday, hundreds of Lubbockities took part In Stand Up for Kids, an awareness campaign to help stop child abuse. Smith stands for child 154, a 15-year-old girl who was abused. She also stands for her daughter.

"It happened by someone that she knows very closely," Smith added.

Smith's daughter was sexually abused last summer. To this day, both mother and daughter are still healing.

"We're still doing counseling. It is still a day-by-day thing. There is so many things she's trying to overcome," Smith said.

"It affects each child differently starting at a young age. You can have bed wetting problems, not being able to sleep, nightmares and it can go into promiscuity," Felicia Powell Clinical Director at the Children's Advocacy Center of the South Plains said.

The center interviews children who may have been abused and if needed, provides them with therapy. Powell says abuse is a problem that if not addressed can have lasting affects on a community.

"We're going to have a community of children who are going to grow up to be adults who are not going to be able to function," Powell said.

On Saturday morning, a sea of concerned citizens stood in Kastman Park for an hour and a half to draw attention to the problem. All held a sign representative of the nearly 950 children assisted by the Children's Advocacy Center last year.

"People need to understand that this is happening to our children. And if they have any type of suspect (of abuse), that it is (their) responsibility to step up," Powell added.

It's a voice of courage, which possibly could prevent a child from becoming another statistic.

"Children don't make this stuff up. Always know where your children are and protect your children," Smith said.

Smith filed a report with Child Protective Services. At this time, her daughter's case is pending in the District Attorney's office.

If you suspect abuse of a child call CPS, that number is 1-800-252-5400.

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