April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. -- More than 10,000 blue ribbons hung from trees Tuesday, representing the number of reported child abuse cases in Oregon in 2012.

Advocates say they're trying to promote awareness for Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Jason Davis says the first step is recognizing that abuse is not just physical. “Of the nearly 70,000 child abuse cases we see every year, only 7.4% of those are actualy physical," he said. "The majority are threat of harm or parent lashing out and emotionally abusing the child.”

Lane County Public Health says most of the time child abuse stems from stress. "The majority of child abuse happens because of unmanaged stress in people's lives, and they act out in a way that is negative to the child.”

Davis says the emotional damage carries past one's childhood.

He says the county public health department has a mediator who goes to the State Penitentiary in Salem, and most the the inmates there suffered from serious child abuse. “The lasting pyschological effects, ever lasting ramifications in someone's life, I think we can make a direct correlation between these individuals who commited crimes in our society," said Davis. "In their formative, childhood years, abuse happens.”

The key to stopping child abuse it preventing it before it happens.

Lane County Public Health has a family mediation department, directly helping parents deal with stress and communication. “There isn't anybody who couldn't use some support when stress is real for what's happneing in life," said Naomi Kramer. "Parents make the decisions for what's going to happen next to their children with some support and assistant on how to keep that conversation going.”

You can visit the Lane County Public Health website for more information.