Peoria residents organiize first March Against Child Abuse

By WEEK Reporter

April 5, 2014 Updated Apr 5, 2014 at 10:57 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- April is Child Abuse prevention month and Local residents are bringing the fight against child abuse to Peoria.

Local residents gathered at Peoria's Public Library for the first-ever March Against Child Abuse. Millions nation wide are participating in marches, holding signs to educate those passing by. March Against Child Abuse (MACA) is also a national organization that aims to spread awareness to the ongoing problem of child abuse.

Peoria resident and abuse survivor, Shelby Cooper, partnered with the MACA organization to bring a march to Peoria. The goal is to spread awareness of the problem and advocate for tougher sentencing for violent crimes against children. Experts say more than 10 children die a day from child abuse.

"Children that are abuse are more likely to abuse their children so it's a matter of breaking this cycle of violence," said Cooper.

"My hope is that it will be stopped so that children no longer have to suffer in this cycle," said abuse survivor Vanessa Harris.

Cooper hopes to have more participants in the years to come.