There have been several child abuse cases in the news recently. And a child advocacy center in Sioux Falls is seeing more reported cases as well.
Dr. Nancy Free, the medical director at Child's Voice, and Colleen Brazil, a forensic Interviewer, work hand-and-hand with victims of child abuse. They say child abuse cases are rising.
“Every year our volumes increase by about 10 percent a year,” Free said. "Some of that might be related to increase numbers in children being abused, but some of that is because of better reporting, better recognition."
Child's Voice performs medical evaluations on children who are possible victims of abuse or neglect, but what it does is special. Interviewers record children's interviews.
"To only have to tell it once, to only have to have one check-up is a huge help for them," Free said.
If you come in contact with a child claiming abuse, Brazil stresses to not ask many questions; just listen. The next step is reporting the possible incident to authorities.
"I think the important thing to remember is that the first moment of healing for that child is when they are able to make a discloser or an outcry to someone and someone listens to them, believes them, and acts on that," Brazil said.
Free says abuse is scary, but when it's reported and examined by the proper people, the healing process can begin for the child.
"Help kids who are possible victims, get their evaluation in the most child-friendly, least traumatic way possible," Free said.
Review a full list of child advocacy centers in South Dakota online.