Dallas (1080 KRLD)- With April being Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center (DCAC) is calling upon the local community to stand up to child abuse.
Murphey Sears, Chief Development Officer at DCAC joined KRLD's Kristin Diaz and David Rancken and spoke about the record-setting year they recorded of clients served during the pandemic despite an initial drop in reported cases.
"Last year alone we saw over 8,000 kiddos and their non-offending family members for services at DCAC," said Sears. "Everything we do is free of charge, we provide them with everything from the investigative services all the way up to the healing services."
Statistics show 1 in 5 children will be sexually abused, often by someone they know and trust. And unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic only worsened the situation for many children.
"What we really saw at the beginning of the pandemic when everybody was under a stay-at-home order, it was the most dangerous time for our children," said Sears.
"They were home, they were not in front of their teachers, the professionals who are our most astute professional reporting source in our county. And so reports had dipped a little bit."
"There was more physical abuse that was occurring right at the onset of the pandemic due to additional stressors or financial situations that families found themselves in. So, it was scary for our kids."
Sears encourages the community to get educated on how to prevent child abuse and how to report it, through their online portal at dcac.org.
"What I would encourage, anybody and everybody who has even just a tiny inkling, even just a gut feeling, to report it," said Sears. "Reporting is anonymous, and once you report it and when you report it anonymously the experts take over."