Attorney Julia Munley recognizes National Child Abuse Prevention Month as a time for action
Munley believes we must shine a light on child abuse in order to prevent it
The problem of child sexual abuse in this country and throughout Pennsylvania continues at an alarming rate. It can be difficult to acknowledge that sexual abuse of children of all ages, including infants, happens every day. This horrifying topic was brought to the national spotlight when Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys, using his position in a prestigious football program to gain access to youth. This past week, Pennsylvania’s top court rejected a bid by this former Penn State football coach to appeal his 2012 conviction of charges of sexually abusing children.
Last week alone in Northeast Pennsylvania, we saw news reported of a trusted pastor at a Scranton cathedral being removed from his position and charged with indecent assault and corruption of minors. Additionally, the director of a Pennsylvania Singing Boys Choir was arrested and charged with the sexual assault of a minor. These cases join recent news of teachers, coaches and other adults that children trust, being arrested and charged with these heinous crimes.
According to the National Children’s Alliance, there were 294,781 children served at Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) in 2013. Of that total, 202,265 were cases of sexual abuse. Even more startling were the ages of the victims. 113,478 of the victims served by CACs were 0-6 years of age and 105,926 were 7-12 years of age. The victim in also knew the alleged abuser in over 90% of the cases.
CACs are child-focused, facility-based programs with representatives from many disciplines working together to effectively investigate, prosecute, and treat child abuse. CAC locations are not only child-focused but designed to create a sense of safety and security for child victims.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month as proclaimed by our government. It’s time to shine a spotlight on this topic and help better protect our children. The theme for this year’s national child abuse prevention month and the 19th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect is “Making Meaningful Connections.”
When we make meaningful connections with the children, youth and families in our communities, we can help play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child and family well-being.
What can we all do? First, help stop the silence by acknowledging and talking about this problem to create a greater awareness. Get involved in your community and get to know everyone your child comes into contact with. Meet your neighbors, attend parents meetings and volunteer at your child’s school. Attend all of their sporting and other events and drop in on practices and other activities whenever you can. Get to know all of their teachers, coaches and any other adults they are in contact with. Know where your child is at all times.
Talk honestly with your children about child sexual abuse, and encourage them to talk openly with you about this topic and to tell you immediately if they feel uncomfortable with anyone. Most importantly, report suspected abuse immediately – you could help to save a child. You can contact your local Children’s Advocacy Center at any time for more information.
The Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are in your corner and ready to fight. For information or to contact one of our experienced attorneys, visit www.munley.com.
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