Earlier this week, we kicked off Child Abuse Prevention Month at the steps of The Children’s Assessment Center with our most dedicated partners in the fight against child abuse in Harris County.
As a close-knit community of child advocates, we work as a team to protect our most vulnerable.
You are part of this team. We rely on our community to report abuse and keep our children safe when they see the signs of a child in need.
Blue and silver pinwheels outside The Children’s Assessment Center building were spinning in the wind, one for each of the 175 children who are victims of abuse in Texas every day.
Signs of abuse aren’t always obvious, but they are often there if you know where to look. We are asking every adult in our community to help. Take actionable steps to create safer environments for the children in your life:
- If you see something, say something. Reporting suspicions of child abuse can save a life, prevent further victimization, or stop more children from being victimized.
- Learn how to recognize and report child abuse. Education and training are our best defense against those who harm children.
- Talk to your children. Start the conversation early and continue the discussion throughout their upbringing.
- Spread the message. Tell your neighbors and loved ones how they, too, can do their part to keep our children safe in a real and virtual world.
Our partners at The CAC offer free training and resources on the signs and symptoms of child abuse and share stories of survivors throughout the year. In April, they’re hosting additional training and virtual workshops on child abuse awareness and prevention. For more information on what’s in store and how to get involved, click here.
As first responders, we work tirelessly to investigate allegations of child abuse. We also work hard to identify and combat human trafficking cases, especially those involving a juvenile.
There aren’t many jobs in our agency that are tougher than being a child abuse investigator. These incidents are horrific, heartbreaking cases of abuse and neglect involving an innocent and defenseless child.
But it’s an important calling that offers the chance to make a difference in the lives of our community’s great asset: our children.
Our investigators’ role in child abuse cases spans the entire case from the initial call, through the investigation, and to the court proceedings. Our Crimes Against Children Unit stays involved in the investigation as the victim and their family receive the proper treatment, services, and support from advocacy centers to start their healing process. It’s a coordinated response from the start.
Sadly, in 2020, nearly 4,000 children received services at The CAC. These experts provide high-quality care so children can thrive. Their work embodies the sentiment: “No future should be out of reach.”
And while the work of our specialized unit is always essential, it is especially critical during a crisis. The disruption brought on by the pandemic made our children even more vulnerable to abuse. Some of those traditional safety nets have been removed with children not regularly attending schools, daycares, and after-school programs.
With violent crime on the rise over the past year, Harris County is investing in overtime pay meant to help our investigators target violent criminals in several key areas, including tackling child abuse investigations.
We have a shared responsibility and shared commitment to ensure every child lives a life free from abuse. Prevention through education is key.
If you’re concerned about a child in your life, call us at 713-221-6000. If you want to remain anonymous, report tips to Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS.
We are grateful for the opportunity to stand together with the many partners in our region who work to end child abuse for all.