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Advocate discusses child abuse in Utah

By | Posted - Apr. 7, 2011 at 11:55 a.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah ranks 10th in the nation in the number of cases of child abuse. But the director of the Salt Lake County Children's Justice Center says that ranking may mislead people. Susanne Mitchell says it's actually a positive.

The Children's Justice Center of Salt Lake County is hosting other events in April to raise awareness and to generate funds, including:
  • Sounds for Hope Concert
    Libby Gardner Hall, U of U
    Saturday, April 9
    7 p.m.
  • Cops for Kids fundraiser
    Officers wait tables and donate the tips
    Participating Sizzler restaurants
    Tuesday, April 19
    4-9 p.m.
  • More info and events:

"Utah takes (reports of child abuse) seriously and the agencies respond, I think better than most states. So, our numbers may appear higher but it may actually be that other states aren't doing as well as Utah in responding," she explained.

April is Child Abuse Awareness month.

A typical abuse victim may be a child about 10 years old who has experienced the abuse for some time. With sexual abuse, often there is no evidence and the offender likely is not a stranger.

"Some of these circumstances are crimes of opportunity. It's not always premeditated. Sometimes the child is alone with someone who takes advantage of the opportunity to exploit and abuse the child," Mitchell said. But, she said there are cases in which people do target children and intentionally exploit them.

The Family Connection Center in Layton is holding an event Friday called "Safe at Home." It will take place at the Boondock's Fun Center at 525 S. Deseret Drive in Kaysville at 10:30 a.m.

For the full interview with Susanne Mitchell, click the player above.

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