Talking about child abuse can be uncomfortable for many people and it is a difficult conversation to start. At the Protecting Our Children phone bank on Wednesday night, volunteers aid the event gave people a chance to reach out.
"Lots of people have somewhat unusual circumstances where they suspect child abuse but they're not quite sure where to go with the information," said Sgt. Brian Lendey of the Syracuse Police Department. "So they're looking for a little direction and I think we're able to help them out with that."
Police, child advocates and health workers all took calls from 5 to 9 o'clock at the WCNY studios in Liverpool. Many of the volunteers who deal with child abuse every day were surprised by the number of calls coming in but not the issues that were raised.
"As you can see with recent headline cases, this is a really prominent issue and it's something while not talked about, at McMahon Ryan Advocacy Center we see every day" said Jami Ryan.
The Protecting Our Children special aired simultaneously on all the Syracuse broadcast stations. As the show was on, callers were looking for more details and more information about what to watch for.
"Those have been a lot of the calls. Is this abuse, is this not abuse? These are great questions to be asking because it leads to more awareness and reports and help for kids," said Samantha Staub from the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center.
By Wednesday afternoon, the Protecting Our Children special inspired two adults to come forward in person with cases of suspected child abuse.
Volunteers said they hope this is the beginning of a conversation about protecting children and that many of the calls will lead to changes in the weeks and months ahead.