Community Invited to Seminar on Child Abuse Prevention

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Statistics from the Illinois Kids Count for 2013 show children in the Stateline face hunger, poverty and abuse at a much higher rate than kids in the rest of Illinois.

The child poverty rate in Winnebago County is 29%, compared to 22% statewide. The average rate of child abuse and neglect in Winnebago County is double the state average, and so far in 2013, local county courts have handled nearly 500 abuse cases. The University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford will host a seminar this weekend to teach adults how to handle what is sometimes called a silent epidemic.

“You may see physical marks, you may see changes in behavior, you may see a new onset of bed wetting, but a lot of times nothing is recognized. So empowering and teaching the kids about it and what’s proper and what’s not and saying its ok to talk about it and tell someone,” says Dr. Mitch King, Interim Regional Dean at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine in Rockford.

The keynote speaker is Erin Merryn. She will talk about her battle to pass her name sake law, Erin’s Law. It’s requires schools in all 50 states to educate kids on the prevention of sexual abuse. The seminar is free and open to the public. It runs 8:30am to 12pm on Saturday.

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