One in three girls will be abused before turning 18; for boys, the number is one in six. More than 90 percent of children know their abuser.
Colquitt County's statistics are comparable. In 2011, authorities investigated 69 allegations of child abuse. Of those cases, 97 percent of the children involved knew the alleged offender.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and in honor of community children, Hero House, the Children's Advocacy Center of Colquitt County, is opening its doors to the public on Monday, April 16th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hero House is an organization that provides a safe, child-friendly environment for children that are victims of child abuse and their families. The nonprofit works with local law enforcement, Georgia Department of Families and Children, prosecutors, school professionals and representatives from the field of medicine and mental health to ensure these child victims are able to begin the healing process.
Shannon Bell, the new executive director of Hero House, said some of her duties include administrative work, but she also works within the community increasing awareness of child abuse plus providing education on prevention and reporting possible offenses.
"I am excited to have joined Hero House, and I'm looking forward to getting out in the community and sharing my knowledge," Bell said.
Hero House operates with funding from United Way of Colquitt County, the Children's Advocacy Centers of Georgia and Hero Sponsors. Hero Sponsors are local donors who want to put an end to abuse and have generously given to help the children of Colquitt County, Bell said.