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Options Available To Turn To If You Suspect Child Abuse

Reported: May. 22, 2014 6:29 PM EDT
Updated: May. 22, 2014 10:04 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams) -- No one was physically hurt the night Roger Lockridge's father pulled a gun on them, but Lockridge was left emotionally damaged.

"There are only two people responsible for you being here, that’s your mother and your father. For one of them to be at the trigger end of a gun, you don't feel much love at that point," Lockridge said.

Lockridge and the rest of his family found a safe place to stay at a domestic violence shelter. It was there where Lockridge decided he wasn't going to follow in his father's abusive footsteps. He said getting help turned his life around.

"Knowing that I had to do something to try to make a positive difference, if nothing else for myself, and know that I can heal," Lockridge said.

West Virginia Child Advocacy Network executive director Emily Chittenden-Laird said if you suspect any kind of abuse, don't be afraid to report it.

"Report to your local department of health and human resources office, report to local law enforcement, there's also a statewide child abuse hotline you can call," Chittenden-Laird said.

In 2012, the West Virginia Child Abuse Network said more than 2,000 kids went to a child advocacy center. Chittenden-Laird said those are also great places to turn to if you need help.

"Child advocacy centers provide neutral, child friendly locations. It's a really safe place where kids can disclose if something has happened to them," Chittenden-Laird said.

Getting help is what turned Lockridge’s life around, he now works at the Child and Youth Advocacy Center in Lewisburg. He said being abused as a child does not define you for life.

"They can definitely overcome, and move on to do great things in their life. Not just live a normal life, but to do great things in their lives,” Lockridge said.



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