"We learned about how to protect children that could potentially being abused and signs to look for. Situations that could be potentially dangerous and just to be more aware and mindful," stated Abby Ewards, a student at the university.
Ewards, a social worker major at MWSU, was one of several students who attended Thursday's conference to learn more about how help young abuse victims cope.
"Part of being a social worker is helping others," added Ewards.
The child abuse investigation conference taught professionals and students how to support and treat victims through traumatic experiences. Experts say abuse effects the entire community and it's important that everyone be educated on what signs to look for.
"The only way to stop child abuse is to be aware that it's happening. So we have to make the students aware we have to teach them what to look for we have to teach them how to report it. Children cannot protect themselves," stated Joyce Estes, executive director of Northwest Children's Advocacy Center.
"It's good education here that everybody needs to have. Even if you've already been in the field for a while and you've already been trained and you're doing other things," added Estes.
This year's keynote speaker was Jacycee Dugard who was kidnapped in 1991 and survived 18 years of abuse. Leaders hope students take away something from her testimony that will help save a life.
"Just be more mindful and aware and empowering myself to protect my niece or any children I would come in contact with. Also, to educate those who didn't come to the conference and to be a source of knowledge," added Ewards.
The conference was held in conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month