GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- The Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect hotline saw a record number of calls in 2018. According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, 221,969 people called the hotline in 2018 compared to 211,554 the year prior.
They say statewide efforts to bring awareness to that hotline and the signs of child abuse are to thank for that increase.
Mesa County though, saw fewer calls last year.
"It could be a number of things, it could be that people are not reporting, they're seeing that child abuse or neglect out there and they're choosing not to call, which is probably the worst case scenario,” Nicci Surad, supervisor at Mesa County Child Services, said. “Best case scenario is that we're just not experiencing as much abuse and neglect which would be fantastic."
Those calls are important, because the Department of Human Services can't put a stop to child abuse and neglect if you don't report it.
"We can't go police the streets and look for these things happening. We can't get involved, by law, until a call comes through that hotline,” Surad said.
Making that call could get families and children the resources they desperately need, and could even save lives.
"Think about your child,” Mistalynn Meyeraan, executive director for the Western Slope Center for Children, said. “Would you want somebody to protect that child? Or think of it if it had been you. Would you want somebody to have protected you if you couldn't have protected yourself?"
The Center says it’s important to remember that there are trained professionals in our community, you don’t need to address the problem on your own – and shouldn’t.
The Colorado child abuse and neglect hotline is 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437).
The Mesa County hotline is (970) 242-1211.