Everyone no doubt knows that child abuse is a very serious problem in the United States, but recent studies have shown that the problem may be even more severe than many realized. According to statistics compiled by the experts at ChildHelp.org, each year there are more than 3.6 million referrals made to various child protection agencies — amounting to about 6.6 million children when counted together. In fact, the problem is so bad that the U.S. actually has one of the worst records of child abuse among all industrialized nations — we lose between four and seven kids each day to child abuse, neglect or both.

But perhaps the most important statistic of all is the following: There is a report of child abuse made once every ten seconds in this country. Based on all of this, it’s easy to see why training on how to deal with this issue for the various agencies working hard to combat it is always a top priority. Recently, the Children’s Advocacy Network began offering new materials to those who deal with child abuse and neglect cases that took a decidedly different approach than most are used to: These courses came in the form of not only case studies and first-hand accounts from experts, but hidden camera footage as well.

The State of Cenla Training Today

During one recent Children’s Advocacy Network training lesson in Alexandria, Virginia, that took place in late June 2018, experts played a video that was shot via a “nanny cam” hidden camera in a victim’s home. That video showed a man not only snatching a very young child out of a playpen, but repeatedly punching the child in the stomach. Then, the child is dragged off camera, but the audio suggests that the beating continued. Finally, the child is literally thrown across the room and back into the playpen before the video comes to an end.

Reports from people who were there indicate that the video was so disturbing that one attendee even had to turn her head. As gruesome as it may be, it does help underline the fact that there are real victims at play and that this is one of the most important issues to address of our time.

The goal of these types of training programs — many of which are happening all over the country — is to help better educate local law enforcement officials, along with those from the Department of Children and Family Services, in a way that allows them to not only better identify situations where child abuse is present, but to also help them understand the complicated tightrope that child abuse investigations must walk.

The Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Network, Wade Bond, said that one of the benefits of bringing real experts to talk to Cenla agency officials is that those who participate in the training will get to see “all of the elements” of these situations. Those elements include but are not limited to the various investigative techniques that law enforcement agencies must rely on, the specific evidence that is commonly used to prosecute child abusers and more.

He was quoted as saying “by learning from people who have already gone through the process and who have already successfully prosecuted cases, it is a tremendous benefit to us all.”

He indicated that part of the reason the training is so successful — and important — is because people get to ask cold, hard questions and learn from the people who have already been successful in terms of bringing offenders to justice.

While it’s certainly true that these types of training materials and experts are not for the faint of heart, they do help show in stunning detail the severity of the problem that exists in the modern age. A similar training session was also held earlier in June in Vidalia, and more are expected to roll out across the country in the not-too-distant future. Here’s hoping that they are every bit as valuable as our children need them to be.