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Talking about child abuse

Long after the physical wounds heal, the psychological scars of child abuse often remain.

Sometimes, victims aren’t even aware of the ways a childhood trauma impacts them into adulthood, said Dianne Bachman, a licensed clinical social worker who often counsels people recovering from abuse.

She and two other speakers will talk Tuesday evening (April 15) about the hidden impacts of child abuse. The event is sponsored by the Community Collaborative for Youth and Families and aims to make people more aware of child abuse and its damages. The workshop will be held at the Salem Church Library in Spotsylvania County.

The talks will cover the lasting effects of abuse, law enforcement’s response to child abuse and the intricacies of sexual abuse.

Before the event, Girl Scout Troop 3502 will decorate the library’s lawn with pinwheels, the symbol of child abuse prevention. The troop raised money for the pinwheels so there would be a visual reminder of a topic that often is hidden.

Bachman hopes people will leave the event with a greater understanding of child abuse victims and the pain they feel. That understanding could help victims seek the help they need, even if they are adults. And it could make potentially abusive parents more likely to seek help, she said.

Kristel DiGravio-Ferguson, an investigator with the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, will also speak at the workshop. She hopes the event will help people stop blaming the child instead of the perpetrator and to also understand just how serious child abuse is.

DiGravio-Ferguson primarily works with victims of domestic violence and child abuse, and finds it hard to see how much pain those victims endure.

“Being a parent is an amazing gift, one that should never be taken lightly,” she said. “Give that child not only your unconditional love but also your unconditional support, especially in difficult times.”

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973