April is child abuse awareness month

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP)–April is child abuse awareness month.  22News spoke with the father of an abuse victim about raising awareness for these victims.

Jeffery Suriano told 22News he thought he failed his daughter when she first told him she had been repeatedly sexually abuse

As an award winning EMT, Seriano is in the business of helping and protecting people.  But when it came to his own daughter, he was shocked that he hadn’t been able to stop a two year long situation of sexual abuse.

He spoke of her bravery of coming forward with the information and how critical it is to be attentive to the people in your child’s life.

Suriano said it’s a parent’s job to be skeptical, even of those closest to your child, so you can be your child’s advocate.

“When they’re children, they think that they’re doing something wrong.  I mean when my daughter reported she described it as a relationship.  She was 14.   Your not capable of that kind of relationship.  That’s not a relationship, this is a crime,” Suriano said.

Seriano’s daughter’s abuser was former theatre director David Freid Oppenheim.  He has since been convicted on child rape charges.

If you suspect a child you know is getting abused call or go to your local police department.  There is also help available at northwesternda.org, or by calling the Children’s Advocacy Center (413) 586-9225, or (413) 774-3186.