Blue ribbons hang all over Jackson County during the month of April as quiet reminders to the real dangers of child abuse.
Last year in Mississippi, more than 18,000 children endured some form of abuse. John Bennett runs CASA, a group that helps children already touched by abuse. John believes the biggest road block to stop the abuse is public awareness.
"When we hear stories or read stories in the paper about kids neglected or having died, a lot of people in the local community won't acknowledge the existence of child abuse and neglect," Bennett said. "It's something we can't overlook, because you've got to remember the children."
District Attorney Keith Miller has made child abuse prosecution a top priority. He takes a hard line on offenders.
"I absolutely have no respect for someone who does that and have no remorse in seeking the death penalty if that's what the case calls for," Miller said.
Just to give you an idea about the real numbers law enforcement agencies are dealing with, the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse says in the time it took you to read this story, 12 more children have probably been physically abused.