NIAGARA FALLS, NY – In observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara (CAC), a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC), will hold its sixth annual Walk to End Child Abuse on April 26 at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion. The free community event, which starts at 4:30 p.m., aims to raise awareness of the importance of child safety, child abuse prevention, and reducing trauma for the children in our community.
The event will feature real-life superheroes, Bikers Against Child Abuse, NFFD touch-a-truck, community resources, kid crafts, and more. In addition, Niagara Falls will be lit blue at approximately 10:00 pm as a symbol of support for Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“Reports of child abuse and maltreatment continue to increase locally and cases of sudden unexplained child deaths increased by 180% last year. Community awareness and support are crucial in preventing abuse, increasing resiliency 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 and 1 in 7 children experienced some form of reportable abuse or maltreatment in 2022. Last year, the Niagara Department of Social Services investigated over 3,500 child abuse and maltreatment reports and 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.
Our community can help support child safety by hosting a free CAC sponsored training, engaging in community events and social medical awareness, contacting local elected officials or donating to the CAC directly. The CAC depends on the community’s support to provide children with a safe, comfortable, and child-friendly space to provide crucial services that help children heal, reduce re-traumatization, and prevent future abuse.
“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.
If you are interested in helping support the CAC or attending the Walk to End Child Abuse, don’t hesitate to contact the CAC at 716-285-0045.
ABOUT THE CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER OF NIAGARA
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.
ABOUT NIAGARA FALLS MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER
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.