THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - With the growing problem of child sexual abuse, advocates said adults need to know how to spot the signs.
Community members in Thomasville took part in a workshop Monday designed to help them detect sexual abuse in children.
Adults were taught how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Although sexual abuse is not something people often like to talk about, advocacy center employees said its a problem that is becoming more prevalent.
"For our center we have seen a dramatic increase over the past couple of years, compared to 5 years ago," said Jackla Lawson, Treehouse Advocacy Center.
Just in past three months, The Treehouse advocacy center said it has seen 85 cases of alleged child sexual assault.
In the past year they have done 140 forensic interviews and 20 sexual assault exams.
"It's really eye opening to know exactly, how much this type of abuse happens in our neighborhoods," said Alyssa Blakely, Prevention Regional Coordinator.
The darkness to light's training is put on by Stewards of Children.
It is designed for parents, youth organization leaders, and anyone in the community.
Organizers said it's important to know how to react to the abuse.
"It's very important because initially when a child discloses this type of abuse you don't want to over react to it," said Blakely.
If the abuse goes unnoticed, experts said it can damage a child mentally and emotionally.
"Its the host of a lot of different things that can impact the child later on in their life, that they will deal with until adulthood," said Blakely.
The statistic that organizers hope to change is that 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.
This means that it is highly likely that someone you know has experienced or is experiencing the abuse.
The good news is that with proper training, advocates said it can be stopped.
Georgia law requires stewards of children to report suspected child abuse.
Teachers, counselors, day care employees, and members of law enforcement are among those required to report abuse.