Local officials agree, it's not something they want to talk about, but something that needs to be talked about.

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month. The City of New Bedford is helping to raise awareness of both dangers.

Pamela MacLeod-Lima, Executive Director of The Women's Center, says people need to trust their "sixth sense" if they feel something is amiss with a family member or a friend. "If you think something's wrong, there very well might be," said MacLeod Lima. "And let's not forget these are the souls of our children at stake when you're talking about child sexual abuse. These are events that can affect them for the rest of their lives. So, the sooner they get help and a path towards healing, the better."

Representatives from trusted area resources such as the Children's Advocacy Center, the Department of Children and Families, and the Bristol County District Attorney's Office also encouraged victims and their family members to speak up to end sexual assault and child abuse.

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