Speaking out to prevent child abuse: Deondra Brown shares her story to make sure kids are ‘protected’

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Deondra Brown plays beautiful music despite a painful past. 

She and her two sisters in the Grammy-winning piano quintet the 5 Browns say they were sexually abused as children by their father and manager Keith Brown who is now serving a prison sentence for his crimes.

Deondra now serves as the co-chair of the Utah Coalition for Protecting Childhood.

“My personal experiences will always draw me to making sure that the next generation of children are protected from abuse in ways that I never was,” Brown told ABC4 News. “We need to discuss these things with our children. We need to discuss them in community events. We need to be having these difficult conversations because that’s what leads to change.” 

Wednesday at Red Butte Gardens, experts spoke at a roundtable discussion on preventing child abuse, discussing topics like the effects of opioid abuse on adverse childhood experiences or “aces.”

Joey Thurgood is the Essentials for Childhood Coordinator for the Violence and Injury Prevention Program at the Utah Department of Health.

“Children who are raised in those environments are also experiencing adverse childhood experiences so it creates a cycle…of ACES to opioids to more ACES to more opioid abuse,” Thurgood said. 

The Utah Department of Health has formulated a plan to strengthen economic support to families since financial problems are a risk factor in 21 percent of cases, plus provide quality care and education early in life and enhance parenting skills.

According to Thurgood, they’re all strategies to create “a Utah where for every child it’s great to be a kid and we’re not there yet and until we are, the work of this coalition isn’t done.”

For more information, go to http://health.utah.gov/vipp/kids/child-maltreatment/.

For more information on the 5 Browns, go to https://www.the5browns.com/.

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