State Representative Terry Swinger, D--Caruthersville, attended the event and said that it was a 'well presented program with a lot of information that some of the people attending didn't know about child abuse.'
"This is a subject not discussed in a normal conversation because when it happens, people don't want to talk about it, or know about it because they are not educated on the subject," Swinger said.
Statistically over 256,923 children are reported as abused in the United States annually, according to Swinger, who also noted that it is estimated that one in four girls and one in five boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18-year-old, but less than one in ten will tell someone.
"Statistics also show that disabled children are 4 to 10 times more like to be abused," Swinger added. "Also in the past year one in five youth, age 10 to 17, have received sexual solicitation online, and that children are most likely to be abused by someone they know and trust. In Missouri in 2007, 85 percent of abused children were abused by someone who lived in the home."
Professionals on abuse say that many of these perpetrators are in positions of authority and are trusted in their community, which makes it difficult to think they could do something so horrible to a child and therefore the child is lying. Experts explain that kids do not lie about sexual abuse, and according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on two or three of 1,000 cases are false reports.
A child who is abused suffers many effects, according to studies. The child can suffer emotional and behavioral problems and suffer from problems in school. Also an abused child is more likes to be abused again and become abusers themselves, researchers note.
"It is important that the child understands it is not their fault," Swing said. "Sometimes it is too late for a child and many die from abuse."
Swinger noted that Missouri has been ranked 5th highest in the nation for the rate of children who died from abuse or neglect. He added that prosecution can sometimes be difficult for a jury because the children do not respond in a way a jury thinks they should.
"It seems daily there are reports of abuse, not just children," Swinger said.
"I compliment the Pemiscot County Children's Division, Sheriff Tommy Greenwell, Lt. Ryan Holder, and Prosecuting Attorney Mike Hazel for their hard work in keeping our children safe."