Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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October 16, 2012

Summit brings community, professionals together

PLAINFIELD — This year’s community summit, put on last week by Prevent Child Abuse Hendricks County, took the task of bringing youth violence as it relates to domestic violence situations to the discussion table at Hummel Park.

Sandy Runkle of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana and Det. Sgt. Jennifer Barrett of the Brownsburg Police Department were speakers at the free event that typically sees a blend of law enforcement, educators, social workers, and community members all in one venue to take in the learning process.

“The blend of folks here is what makes this a strong event,” said Mark Fairchild, president of PCAHC.

Fairchild said the advantages this particular summit held for educators is immense, considering how much time they spend with children.

“They’re often aware of difficult family situations where maybe they’re not seeing a direct abuse of a child happening, but they’re aware of stressors that might be fringing on or directly indicating domestic violence in the home,” Fairchild said. “They’re aware of special risk factors and different behaviors to see. It’ll make them much more aware of the emotional responses to that, some of the behaviors, some of the vulnerability the child might see and also making them aware that what they see might be a form of abuse or neglect. They’re not seeing something that’s being directly done against the child, but they can see the toll it’s taking on the child in an emotional way.”

Jennifer Hill, also of PCAHC, added, “What’s unique about this event in particular is that whenever most individuals in the room would go to a conference, the focus is very narrow. We had two completely different speakers, we have more of a social services aspect, and then we switch it to a law enforcement and criminal aspect. (Attendees) learn what they can do, should be doing, and what they can see, so I think that’s really unique.”

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