Sarah Welch, spokewoman for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, says while the state’s population has grown over the decades, reports of some types of violence against children have actually dropped.
“For example, in child sexual abuse, we’ve actually seen a decline since the ’90s,” Welch says. “A lot of that came at the same time that we increased training and education for children and also for adults on how to create an environment that prevents that kind of situation from happening.” She says the numbers are also falling in another key category.
Welch says, “We’ve seen a decrease in physical abuse and some of that came at the same time that we were working on shaken baby syndrome and how to prevent those kind of injuries in the first few weeks of a child’s life from the stress of parenting.” Prevent Child Abuse Iowa marked its 40th anniversary in 2015 and she notes the times have very much changed.
“Most people now are aware that child abuse exists,” Welch says. “Back in the ’70s when we got started, that wasn’t even considered an issue for the state and many communities. Now, people are aware it’s an issue and our next step is, how do we prevent it?”
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The group’s annual conference is scheduled for April 25-27 in Des Moines.
(Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)