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National child advocacy group comes to Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY -- In an effort to help those who cannot protect themselves, the Utah Attorney General Thursday announced what he calls a leap forward in the fight against child abuse.

A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

Childhelp is a national non-profit founded 50 years ago to protect children and families from child abuse. Thursday, the child advocates announced their first two chapters in Utah. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff believes Childhelp will be a valuable resource in tackling a widespread problem.

Childhelp aims to give Utah even more resources to help victims of child abuse. Shurtleff made the announcement at the Capitol.

Art fundraiser for Childhelp
October 21, 5-9 p.m.
Local artist will be actively painting, exhibiting and selling original works, with a percentage of sales donated to Childhelp.
    5 p.m. to 6 p.m. - art exhibit and silent auction
    6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - dinner and musical entertainment
    7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. - art exhibit
    live music and dancing
Noah's Event Center
322 W. 11000 South, South Jordan

"We have wonderful shelters, we have great services that we provide, but more needs to be done," said Shurtleff. "It's a community issue we all need to be involved in, and that's what Childhelp brings to the table."

Childhelp founders Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson came to Utah to help open the new chapters.

The former Hollywood actresses formed Childhelp in 1959. The group focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment, and community outreach.

Over several decades, the Childhelp hotline has been a lifesaver; it immediately connects the caller to a counselor. In recent years, the website grew into a valuable resource for kids and families in crisis.

"Every child needs a safe place to be," said O'Meara. "Your children in Utah need to be safe."

The most recent statistics from Utah Child Protective Services for 2009 are stunning:

  • 20,000 cases investigated
  • 8,500 substantiated
  • 12,000 victims
  • 42 percent 5 years old or younger

Child Abuse Hotline:


"Sixty-nine percent of the perpetrators were parents, and 19 percent were relatives," said Shurtleff.

Childhelp programs include information on bullying, Internet safety, and recognizing abuse.

"Everyone who has an open heart for the children, we're here to serve and to help the children with you," said Fedderson.


Story compiled with contributions from Jed Boal and Paul Nelson.

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