Safe Harbor Recognizes Child Abuse Awareness Month

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SAL SAFEHARBOR PIC 3April is Child Abuse Awareness month, a month set aside to remember the youngest victims who may not be able to help themselves. The child advocacy center in Greenville, Safe Harbor,  hosted a balloon release in front of the Lowndes County Courthouse to recognize the day.

Child abuse crimes are often thought of as the worst there are, and District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer would agree.

“It would make me, happy if I never had to prosecute another child abuse case in my career,” she says.

But sadly, she knows it is a type of crime that is never going to go away.

“There’s neglect, there’s emotional abuse, and we have had that,” she says. “And we’ve had several cases of that, we’ve had physical abuse, and of course, sexual abuse, is what we usually see most of.”

SAL SAFEHARBOR PICTesmer’s staff and the Safe Harbor Advocacy Center teamed up to host the balloon release. It is a team that works countless hours to make sure children are safe.

For Kathy Smyth, the executive director of Safe Harbor, her motivation is the fear of past cases. They keep her working to save the children of the future.

“It’s the faces of the past, that get us up and do this every day,” Smyth says. “It can be quite challenging, and emotional. But we’re charged with that responsibility. And we love accepting that responsibility.”

The Safe Harbor staff members know theirs is a never-ending job to keep the children of Lowndes, Butler and Crenshaw Counties safe.

“We want the community to see the faces of the children who possibly may be being abused or neglected,” says Lowndes County DHR director. “And feel an interest to help us to enforce the requirements that we’re mandated to follow and investigate and report.”

SAL SAFEHARBOR PIC 2“This is just not statistics,” Smyth adds. “It’s not laws on paper. That it does affect our children.”

To report any child abuse, you can call Safe Harbor Advocacy Center at (334) 382-8584, or the District Attorney’s office at (334) 382-7444.

Categories: West Alabama