EDINBURG, Texas - The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo County is doing more to help child abuse victims.
The CAC, law enforcement agencies, and healthcare providers are collaborating more than ever to end the cycle of abuse, one child at a time.
"Last year there were over 12,000 child abuse neglect allegations in Hidalgo County. Our center, the CAC saw 1,337 cases,” said the CAC Interim Executive Director, Jesus Sanchez.
The problem may be worse than what these numbers show.
"Unfortunately there's a statistic that says, only one in ten tell. So we can potentially be looking at 13,000 victims in Hidalgo County alone," said Sanchez.
Helping out as many of those victims is the goal for the CAC of Hidalgo County.
The center collaborates with law enforcement agencies, Child Protective Services, and the District Attorneys office, but many times they lack the resources to build a strong case against child abusers.
That's why they host events like the Joining Forces Conference, to help them learn from what other agencies across the U.S. are doing.
"Our goal for this conference is to make sure that we provide our experts or those who give information to our investigators, the proper training to conduct a more effective investigation," said Sanchez.
According to Sanchez, some statistics show 98% of the time, the abuser is someone the child knows.
This makes it even more difficult for victims to talk to professionals, like Dr. Nancy Harper, about their situation.
"It can be difficult, because to a child or an adolescent I may be a medical provider, but I'm also not somebody they've built a relationship with. So I have to show them, both in my demeanor and my professionalism that I'm somebody who is concerned about their safety and their wellbeing, and that they can trust me with some of these sort of personal details about what has happened to their bodies and in their life," said Dr. Harper.
Officials from the child advocacy center do encourage anyone who knows of a child abuse case, to speak out, before the situation worsens.
During Thursday’s conference, the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office presented the CAC
with a check of more than $3,000. The funds were collected during a softball game over the weekend.