Kilah Davenport's grandmother says child abuse is an 'epidemic' - News, Weather & Sports

Kilah Davenport's grandmother says child abuse is an 'epidemic'


Three weeks after the death of her granddaughter Kilah, Leslie Davenport helped kicked off Child Abuse Awareness month in Stanly County with her granddaughter's story.

A room full of people at the Stanly Regional Medical Center hung on Leslie's every word.

"You could hear a pin drop," said Amy Yow, event coordinator and Director of the Butterfly House. "Everybody was so attentive."

They were listening to Leslie Davenport's story of loss and words of action to make sure what happened to her Kilah is prevented in the future for another family.

"Kilah's gone because of child abuse," said Davenport to a crowded room.

When the 8th Annual Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness breakfast was scheduled months ago, the plan was to have Leslie and Kilah on stage together.

But after health complications, Kilah Davenport passed away three weeks before she could take the stage.

"I want people to be fired up," said her grandmother, who says the family is still strong but reeling from Kilah's absence.  "I want people to understand that this is an epidemic. This is taking too many children from us."

According to child abuse statistics in North Carolina, 28 children died at the hand of a parent or caregiver in 2012.

During the same year, 134,088 children were referred to local Department of Social Service (DSS) agencies for possible abuse and neglect, according to information on the website for Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

"It's such a tragic thing that so many people don't realize," said Yow.

But if it's left up to Leslie Davenport and her family, people will begin to realize the problem facing countless families in NC.

"It is just the beginning," said Davenport, in response to whether she will continue making speaking appearances. "I'm not going to stop talking about it. I have to continue to fight in Kilah's honor and all these other children's honor."

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month.

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