ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The month of April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and over the weekend, many local community partners and agencies in Abilene gathered together to offer resources to the community. One of those in attendance was Alana Jeter, a regional director with BCFS Health and Human Services.

“They may not know that child abuse is a problem in our area,” said Jeter.

She emphasized an event like this is crucial for those needing help or resources.

“They might not know who to call if they suspected something if they needed additional resources so really it’s a twofold. It’s helping those that we already serve and then letting other people that are in our neighborhood know what we do and why we’re here,” Jeter explained.

The event was free to the community and provided a safe space for families to enjoy a quality afternoon. There was face painting, bounce houses, and snacks available for children.

The event was also a perfect segway into National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is also celebrated in April. Tuesday night, the Crime Victims Advocate appreciation dinner highlighted all that the volunteers do for those in need.

“They are the ones hearing the stories, they’re coming out at a moment’s notice, sometimes on scene. And many times its thankless,” said Shawna Joyner.

Joyner is a survivor and advocate, and said the work done in Abilene by organizations such as the Noah Project and the RVCC (Regional Victim Crisis Center) for crime victims is incredible. 

“A victim can go to any one of these places and if they can’t give them the help that they need, they’ll find it for them somewhere else,” Joyner proclaimed.

To end the evening, a candlelight vigil was held in honor of victims and families, acknowledging their struggles, their resiliency, and their courage.