Children's Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis at UMSL recently helped launch a new campaign urging people to report potential child abuse and neglect. Click on the poster to see more posters and brochures created for the campaign.

“A child’s safety is an adult’s responsibility – what can you do?” are the words that stare back at you along with the big brown eyes of an innocent little boy. The question and image are part of a new campaign urging people to report potential child abuse and neglect.

The campaign, a partnership between the Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and INOBTR (I Know Better), encourages community members to take action.

“Imagine what it would be like if we had all worked ourselves out of our jobs because we had made our families and our communities strong enough to protect all of our children from all forms of child abuse and neglect?,” said Jerry Dunn, director of the Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis at UMSL. “While we are not quite there yet, we have everything in place to make that possibility a reality.

“Only the community can prevent child abuse,” Dunn added, “by learning the facts about child abuse, increasing our awareness of risk factors and reducing the opportunities that allow child abuse to occur and educating and encouraging everyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to take action immediately by reporting it.”

The local campaign launched April 10 under the umbrella of Project Youth Safety during a kick off campaign for April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month in Forest Park in St. Louis. The campaign is paid for with grant funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs and the U.S. Department of Justice.

“I am so grateful that we have found a community partner who has committed to helping us launch a public awareness campaign aimed at preventing abuse, strengthening families and restoring childhood,” Dunn said.

Through a series of fliers and brochures distributed throughout the area, the campaign encourages adults to take action and report any and all suspected child abuse or neglect to the Missouri Child Abuse hotline at 800-392-3738.

CASGSL provides forensic interviews and ongoing treatment for children ages three through 17 who have been the victims of child abuse and neglect. It is one of only two Child Advocacy Centers affiliated with a university. There are now more than 400 CACs and 246 associate member CACs across the country, with 16 centers in the state of Missouri. They vary in size and format, but all share a common goal: to provide a safe haven for child abuse victims.

Each year, CASGSL provides specialized individual, group and family counseling to approximately 800 children affected by different types of traumatic events, including childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. CASGSL serves witnesses of domestic abuse and violent crime and children who have suffered accidents and traumatic bereavement. The center also trains graduate students from psychology, social work, counseling and criminal justice in how to respond to child maltreatment and trauma.

INOBTR is a nonprofit organization that educates about child safety through public awareness in an effort to keep kids safe. It began as Missouri’s public awareness initiative to stop sexual exploitation crimes against children. St. Louis-based business leader and philanthropist Steven Schankman has been the driving force behind INOBTR.

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