Class to teach participants how to recognize child abuse

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
As Dala’s Blue Angels prepare to hang blue ribbons throughout Lebanon for Child Abuse Awareness Month in April, Dala Johnson and her “angel” volunteers also work to educate the community about the problem locally.
Last year, there were 678 cases of child abuse reported in Linn County, Johnson said.
“That’s 678 too many,” she said.
She also learned that Oregon is the No. 2-ranked state in reported cases of child abuse. Alaska is No. 1.
Johnson, a certified trainer through the ABC House, offers a free two-hour training course called “Darkness to Light.” She wants everyone in the community to be able to recognize the signs of child abuse.
“It shows people the signs that they could be looking for, things that people just don’t think about. For instance, going in to a child and shutting the door without anybody else being there, those are the things you shouldn’t be doing.”
A film shown in the class explains the five steps to protecting children, including recognizing the different signs of abuse. It also includes interviews of several survivors, including a former Miss America and a U.S. Olympic medalist.
“It’s just an eye opener that they can be anywhere and any place,” Johnson said. “If you don’t stop it, it’s just going to continue, and most of the child abusers, it happened to them when they were young, so it’s a learned behavior. It just goes on and on and on. And when it happens in your family, it’s the worst thing that anybody could go through.”
Dala’s Blue Angels will host their eighth annual “Walk a Mile for a Child” fundraiser on April 4.
The funds they raise are distributed to nonprofits that work to reducing and providing help for child abuse, such as ABC House, Family Tree Relief and CASA.
“We need to protect the kids,” Johnson said. “We need to let our kiddos know in school that when they’re being hit, that’s not okay, and it’s not okay to touch parts. It’s a huge thing to say, ‘this is not going to be acceptable.’”