In Texas, tens of thousands of children become victims of child abuse every year. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and supporting organizations are struggling to stop these numbers from rising.
As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, DFPS hosted an event Thursday night aimed at educating others about child abuse. "Light of Hope" showed people what signs to look for and what you can do if you see them.
"It's a time where we really focus on telling people about the problem of child abuse and how common it is in our families and communities," DFPS spokesperson Lisa Block said.
Wayne Dungey is a life coach who visited the event with his daughter.
"A lot of time I deal with kids who deal with abuse," Dungey said. "I'm coming out to see what organizations help the kids."
Bikers Against Child Abuse is one organization that reaches out to children victims.
The bikers become their companions visiting them whenever they feel alone or frightened and even coaching and supporting them through court and parole hearings.
"Really what it does is it gives them a sense of security to be able to relive that trauma," one biker said.
It's a trauma around 60,000 children in Texas deal with every year, according to DFPS.
"Here in Travis last year we had more than 10,000 children abused and neglected," said DFPS spokesperson Lisa Block.
Block believes even more cases go unreported, one reason being the abuser typically tends to be familiar to the child.
"It's often someone who is close to the family and the child of course and has easy access," Block said.
Block encourages people to look for signs of abuse in children like withdrawal, anxiety, depression, unusual relationships with adults or untreated physical injuries. She says if those signs are spotted, call the Texas Abuse and Neglect Hotline. The number is 1-800-252-5400.
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