BANGOR — April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and across the state advocates hope to raise awareness to prevent the mistreatment of children.
Penobscot County Deputy District Attorney Mark Rucci encounters severe court cases daily and says child abuse cases are some of the most critical.
“These represent some of the most serious cases that we handle in the criminal justice system. Nobody wants to believe that this is a problem that exists, but these cases come infrequently,” he said.
He advises bystanders to speak up if they observe mistreatment of children in a public vicinity.
“It’s kind of the old mantra. If you see something, say something,” he said.
Maine Children’s Trust is a statewide nonprofit organization that promotes healthy relationships among families and supports communities in hopes of preventing child abuse and neglect.
According to Heidi Aakjer, assistant director at Maine Children’s Trust, there were more than 4,500 child abuse victims in Maine just last year.
Currently, there are two state programs implemented, as well as prevention centers located in every county in Maine.
For more information, visit the Maine Children’s Trust website.