APRIL 30th: Child Advocacy Center of Niagara Co-Hosts Seventh Annual Walk to End Child Abuse


Written by workbeacmc

April 16, 2024

NIAGARA FALLS, NY — In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara (CAC), a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC), and Focus on Families will co-host its seventh annual Walk to End Child Abuse on April 30 at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion, starting at 4:30 p.m. The gathering is free and open to the public, emphasizing the critical need for child safety, prevention of child abuse, and the reduction of trauma within our community.

This year’s superhero-themed walk will feature appearances by real-life superheroes from the WNY Superheroes & Cosplayers, alongside engaging activities, giveaways, and children’s crafts. The event will also include participation from Bikers Against Child Abuse, an interactive touch-a-truck program by the Niagara Falls Fire Department, and more.

“Child Abuse is a pervasive problem that thrives in silence. Anyone in the community can be a hero to a child. We must be willing to learn the facts about child abuse and take action,” said Shelley Hitzel, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara. “As instances of abuse increase in severity and number, the need for community engagement and support has never been more urgent.”

Nationally, one in seven children experience abuse or maltreatment, and every nine minutes, a child is sexually abused. In 2023, the Niagara County Department of Social Services investigated over 3,500 cases of child abuse and maltreatment. Meanwhile, the CAC provided services to over 600 children in our community, offering forensic interviews, therapeutic child abuse medical evaluations, evidence-based trauma-specific counseling, and victim advocacy services completely free of charge.

In addition to direct services, the CAC provides Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training, designed to educate adults on proactive steps to prevent child sexual abuse within organizations, families, and communities. The program combines impactful videos with guided discussions, focusing on the empowerment skills of choice-making, risk-taking, and mutual support to protect children.

For those interested in supporting the CAC or attending the Walk to End Child Abuse, please contact the CAC at 716-285-0045.


The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara is a countywide resource providing a place for a multi-disciplinary team of law enforcement, social services, prosecution, and medical and mental health personnel to investigate allegations of child abuse in a child-friendly environment and provide support and treatments services to children and their caregivers. In addition to working with child victims, the CAC also provides support services, advocacy, crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals to individuals experiencing domestic violence and sex trafficking.


Founded in 1895, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) has a long tradition of serving the Niagara community. NFMMC’s hospital and primary stroke program are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, and its primary care network is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Memorial’s inpatient services include a cardiac/stroke unit, a medical–surgical unit, an ICU, a Labor and Delivery unit, and an Adult Inpatient Psychiatry unit, the only one of its kind in Niagara County. Memorial serves as a Center for Community Health by operating five primary care centers, a large outpatient adult mental health clinic, a Health Home, and several innovative community-based services.   Thanks to a partnership with Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and Erie County Medical Center, NFMMC operates the only cardiac catheterization laboratory in Niagara County. Memorial is also home to the Golisano Medical Oncology Center, which operates in collaboration with Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center.

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