TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - One out of every 1,000 children in Lucas County is abused or neglected. That is the latest statistic from Lucas County Children Services. On Wednesday, many came together in the fight to try and stop child abuse.
Child protection agencies across northwest Ohio encouraged people to wear blue to work Wednesday. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and child advocates are wearing blue to encourage awareness, as well as to support victims and their rights. Abuse can take many forms including physical, emotional and sexual.
Lucas County Children Services said child abuse continues to be a problem in the community. Data from 2009 showed 120,000 children in Ohio were victims of abuse or neglect.
This is the first "Wear Blue to Work Day" in Lucas County, but it joins about a dozen counties across the state.
Students and staff in the University of Toledo's College of Business wore blue Wednesday.
"I want to make people be known that it's out there and it's happening, and that we can do something about it, even something as simple as wearing blue," said UT grad student Kellie Trumbull.
"The child abuse is truly one of the heart-wrenching ones when you see little children that are being abused and can't speak for themselves," said Terri Beth Gordon-Moore from UT's College of Business.
Lucas County Children Services saw nearly 600 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect last year, but received more than 4,000 tips of suspected abuse. Children Services said the majority of calls came from these zip codes: 43604, 43608, 43610, 43605, and 43609.
"Child abuse continues to be a problem in our community and what we're doing is saying you know child abuse is preventable and you can help prevent it just by being aware and wearing blue to work," said Julie Malkin, public information officer for the Lucas County Children Services.
Prevention starts with knowing the signs of abuse and neglect.
"It could be the kids down the street that are maybe out wandering late at night, or come asking for meals at your house, or you know, have unexplained injuries," said Malkin.
Being more aware can help put an end to child abuse.
"It's just very important though that all adults pay attention to those signs and symptoms. And if they suspect something, you know, you don't have to have absolutely firm evidence, but if you suspect something is wrong, to call Lucas County Children Services," explained Malkin.
You can report child abuse by calling 419-213-2273.
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