MASON CITY, Iowa - It's a problem that can be found all across the country - child abuse.
Over 30,000 assessments for child abuse or neglect were filed in 2020, according to the Iowa Department of Human Service. During Child Abuse Prevention Month, agencies like DHS are working to get resources to those who need it most and reduce the number of cases and assessments.
Coordinator Melissa Clough reiterates that child abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of race, gender or socio-economic background. During the pandemic, she notes that abuse and neglect is a very real concern.
"Many children are in the home, learning from home if they're not in school and not assuming regular activities. Child abuse is still prevalent, it still exists even if we don't see it or hear about it every single day."
If they suspect abuse is occurring, Clough says adults must come forward.
"Child abuse exists mostly because of the person doing the harm, the abuser. We need to focus on education and awareness, parenting implication, different parenting techniques, to decrease these numbers."
This Saturday at the Charles City Arts Center, kids can decorate a pot and sow a seed; the free event is to raise awareness of child abuse.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, call the Iowa Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-362-2178.