A wave of blue will wash over Walker County this Friday in support for child abuse prevention month.
Go Blue Day is taking place at the Walker County Courthouse Gazebo from noon to 1 p.m. Friday to raise awareness for children who are or have been abused, which, according to John Dunphy of Court Appointed Special Advocates, is an issue that is everlasting in someone’s life.
“It is a lifelong issue that affects anyone who has been abused,” Dunphy said. “I’ve read that 80 percent of 21-year-olds who were abused as children have at least one psychological disorder. Abuse and neglect in children has a far reaching affect far beyond childhood.”
CASA, an organization that consists of volunteers who are appointed by the court in order to work for the best interest of the child, was started after a juvenile judge realized that there were abused children in court who neglected a voice or an adult to speak on their behalf.
For that reason, CASA is hosting some events on campus throughout the month of April to encourage Sam Houston State University student involvement.
One of those events is the volunteer training session, where college students can volunteer to become an advocate for an abused child during a court hearing.
“We’re beginning our pre-service volunteer training course, which is 30 hours of training, 15 hours of classroom training and 15 hours of homework… [on] the 21st of this month,” Dunphy said. “We take them through case studies, we introduce them to the other volunteers, we go through a whole set of particular training activities that allows the volunteer to get experience, depending on what they’re going to be looking for when they become a volunteer and get a case.”
According to Dunphy, it’s important for college students to get involved and become volunteers because they could be some of the best advocates for children of abuse.
“I think it’s a win-win situation for both the college student and the child,” Dunphy said. “It wasn’t too long ago that college-aged students were children, and I think they have some special empathy for the things that kids are going through these days. They can readily understand that if a child is neglected, how important that is to allow that child to have a voice. That’s what we do, we try to have a voice for the voiceless.”