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Study Raises Child Abuse Awareness in Local Communities

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FAYETTEVILLE — Child abuse is in every community and affects families of all backgrounds. Most people know it exists, but many may be surprised to learn how many children are abused in their community.

Seven percent of all children in Cumberland County are victims of suspected abuse. A marketing class atMethodist Collegewent to the streets and tried to determine if residents there knew just how prevalent child abuse is.

Sallie Norris and her family have lived in Fayetteville for a year. She thinks Cumberland County is just like every community when it comes to child abuse.

"I would guess it wouldn't be any more than anywhere else in the country," said Norris.

Cumberland County is actually rated the third highest in the state for child abuse cases. Local child advocates wanted to know what the perception of child abuse was among other residents.

They teamed up with Methodist College and conducted a study.

"It gives you an idea what they do know and not know in areas that need knowledge increased," said marketing professor Pat Fountain.

Most residents who were surveyed did not know the prevalence of child abuse in the county and did not know much about services available for child abusers and child abuse victims.

As a result of the study, a child abuse public awareness team will now try and raise public awareness in the community.

"It's something we all need to be aware of. We don't need to be frightened about abuse, but as we are aware of it, we can educate our children and communities to try and cut it down," said pediatrician Dr. Howard Loughlin.

Experts felt good about many results of the study. Most people wanted the community to focus on prevention and improving the quality of life for children in the county.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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