ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM)– During National Child Abuse Prevention month, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington is taking to social media to raise awareness about protecting children from abuse. According to the National Children’s Alliance, nearly 700,000 children are abused in the United Sates annually.

Dr. Frank Moncher, Victim Assistance Coordinator said, “if a child ever were to approach an adult saying that they don’t feel safe in their home or in their school or whatever environment that, that person take that concern seriously.”

Dr. Moncher said different forms of abuse are more prevalent at different ages.

“Physical punishments are often used with younger children and it can have a greater degree of harm occur in that sort of situation. Usually adolescents is a time where we can begin to worry a little bit more about sexual abuse and that can happen at a young age as well,” said Dr. Moncher.

Deacon Marques Silva, the Director of Child Protection and Victim Assistance, said there are several programs within schools that help students recognize abuse.

“We also have a program that was developed by Fairfax County Schools which deals with sexual human trafficking and we want to make sure that our youth are very aware of it,” said Silva.

Although this month is focused on child abuse prevention, officials said people should raise awareness throughout the year.

“The Diocese of Arlington is very diligent in ensuring the safety of all the children and that means that we need to constantly review our protocol and reviewing our codes of conduct to ensure that they meet the culture and the time” said Silva.

According to diocese staff, they will be leading a 9 day prayer for the protection of children and prevention of abuse on their social media.