UWF students partner with Gulf Coast Kids House to increase child abuse awareness


Ja’Qaylin Harrison, Staff Writer

Founded in 1998, the Pensacola-based children advocacy group Gulf Coast Kids House strives to seek out, intervene in, and ultimately prevent child abuse throughout Escambia County. Since opening its first location in 2004, the program has provided various means of support, including mental, emotional and physical health services, to thousands of children and their families. 

In 2006, the center established a set of prevention programs aimed at reducing the 5,000+ suspected child abuse cases that are reported in Escambia County each year. Through these programs, one is educated on the numerous signs of child abuse or neglect, including frequent bruises and broken bones, poor academic performance and inadequate hygiene.

Recently, a new statistic found that 1 in 10 children in Escambia County are exposed to some form of child abuse. To reduce that number, Gulf Coast Kids House has created a training program that teaches people how to recognize and be a source of support for suspected child abuse victims.

A group of UWF Communication students, in support of the program, is asking that 1,500 individuals complete the 40-minute course, which is free to the public. Those who complete the course by Apr. 30 could win two free nights at Innisfree Hotels. 

To complete the training:

  1. Go to knowchildabuse.org
  2. Click “start the training” 
  3. Select “take as an organization”
  4. Use the drop-down menu to find “UWF Communication Class Spring 2022”

Though you are not responsible for knowing if abuse is occurring, you are required to report any suspicions of abuse to a professional. To report a case of child abuse, call the abuse hotline at 1-800-962-2873. For more info on spotting child abuse, visit GulfCoastKidsHouse.org, DontMissTheSigns.org or ChildWelfare.org.