04/29/10 — Child Abuse Awareness event held at courthouse

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Child Abuse Awareness event held at courthouse

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 29, 2010 1:46 PM

A crowd of 75 people gathered Wednesday morning in from of the Wayne County Courthouse to mark the closing of Child Abuse Awareness Month in the county.

"Every two minutes a child becomes a prisoner of war, taken hostage not by some stranger down the street or from some enemy land, but by someone they know and love," said the keynote speaker, County Manager Lee Smith.

Smith said that homes should be safe and secure, but sexual abuse is a secret crime with no witnesses.

"Corporations have security guards, but family homes have nothing to protect the children inside," he said. "Kids are screaming out the pain of their abuse in alternative high schools, juvenile homes and treatment centers. Many are just forgotten."

Stephen Potter, Wayne County's Children Services Program manager, provided statistics regarding child abuse.

"More than 100,000 children in North Carolina were maltreated last year," he said. "And 1,700 were here in Wayne County."

Potter said that eradicating child abuse is a "job we can not do alone."

"This requires community response," he said. "Child abuse does not stop without intervention and it takes a combined effort from many people and organizations."