In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara (CAC), along with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center staff, wore blue on Tuesday to show their support for the essential work needed to ensure a safe future for all children.
In addition, staff are invited to join the CAC in raising awareness throughout the month by donating items towards the centers “Family Fun Night” gift bags, which are distributed to children visiting the center.
At the end of the month, the 5th annual Walk to End Child Abuse will take place on April 28 at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion. This free community event will start at 4:30 p.m. and features real life superheroes, Bikers Against Child Abuse, community resources, kid crafts and more. Later that night, in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Niagara Falls will be lit blue at approximately 10:00 pm.
Last year, the Niagara Department of Social Services investigated over 3,700 reports of child abuse and maltreatment, or about 10 reports every day.
“Reports of child abuse and maltreatment continue to increase locally. Community awareness and support is crucial in preventing abuse and reducing trauma for the children in our County,” said Shelley Hitzel, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara.
Nationally, 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday. According to the Child Maltreatment Report that came out in 2019, there were 656,000 victims of child abuse and neglect in 2019.
“We ask you to join us, not just during April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month, but all year long because, together, we can truly make a difference in the lives of children,” said Hitzel.
The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, 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. In addition to working with child victims, the CAC also provides support services, advocacy, crisis intervention, safety planning and referrals to victims of domestic violence.
Pictured below is staff from Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center dressed in blue in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.