Northeast Ohio: New 2-1-1 hotline to report violence against children

6:34 PM, Sep 28, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND - Most children in Cleveland and across the country have experienced violence, whether it's a fight in the streets, or abuse in their own homes.

Now there's something you can do to help break the cycle.

Cuyahoga County has partnered with the Department of Justice and United Way on a program called Defending Childhood.

The program puts community resources together to help children cope with the mental and emotional impact of their experiences. Organizers hope you can identify those who need help the most.

It's as simple as dialing 2-1-1. Like 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency, the United Way's 2-1-1 line can now help you help a child you know that has been exposed to violence.

In Cuyahoga County, one in four children has seen violence at home.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Cleveland Friday to highlight the problem, and talk to those who know the most about it -- the kids.

Think about how you shield your own children.

"We can't cover the eyes of every child in this community," said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. "Imagine how much more searing a memory is, when it's not something on television. It's not something where you can just turn the channel, but they are living it. They are experiencing it."

Studies show direct and indirect exposure to violence can change the course of a child's life, making them more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and become violent toward others.

The 2-1-1 line is available to nearly two million people in six counties: Cuyahoga, Geauga, Medina, Ashland, Wayne and Holmes counties.

Staff members have been trained to ask questions to determine whether these services can help, and point you in the right direction.


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