MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A new public service announcement airing on West Virginia television aims to educate adults about the warning signs of child abuse and to give them the courage to report what it.
The 30-second "One with Courage" spots also tell people about the state's 20 children's advocacy centers, which serve children in a combined 32 counties. The ad will air on West Virginia Media stations for eight weeks.
One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthdays, it says, but only one in 10 will report it.
The idea behind the campaign is to highlight the bravery required of children to disclose their abuse, then give adults the courage to find their own voices, said Emily Chittenden-Laird, executive director of the West Virginia Children's Advocacy Network.
Advocacy centers treat victims of both physical and sexual abuse, as well as children who witness violent crime or are mistreated in other ways. They listen to their stories and work to hold perpetrators accountable while getting those children started on a path toward healing.
"We are calling on all adults in our community to have courage by educating themselves, talking openly about this important issue and responding appropriately when they suspect abuse," she said.
Most children are assaulted by people they know, often by family or friends of their families.