Helping over 1,100 children facing abuse on average per year: The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — 1,109 children. According to the Executive Director at the Bridge, Shelly Bohannon, in 2020 the Children’s Advocacy Center saw 1,109 children.

Every year, during the month of April, the local nonprofit recognizes and honors Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month with their annual pinwheel ceremony.

“Every year we place pinwheels in our front yard. There’s a pinwheel for every child that we saw the previous year. So this year, we planted 1,109 pinwheels in our front yard,” explained Bohannon.

Sadly, as large as that number already is, the total for 2021 is on track to be even higher.

Bohannon shared, “Some years, we have seen 1,130, 1,150, and currently we are- our numbers of children that we’ve seen, we’re up about 70% over last year.”

The Bridge works closely with law enforcement, Children’s Protective Services (CPS), prosecutors, and all that would be involved in investigating and prosecuting a child abuse event.

“So when that the children become involved with those agencies, they contact us to conduct the forensic interview with that child,” said Bohannon.

However, Bohannon clarified those working at the nonprofit are not the investigators.

“We do a recorded interview with children that may be victims or witnesses to a sexual assault, physical assault, or could be a homicide. And pretty much anything that a child becomes involved in, we can talk with them.”

For anyone who is experiencing abuse or suspects someone is being hurt, Bohannon asks for everyone to not hesitate in contacting local law enforcement.

“I just encourage people if you are suspecting or you are being hurt, make that report to law enforcement or Children’s Protective Services so that we can help you get to a safe place.”

For further information, please visit The Bridge’s website or call 806-372-2873.

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