April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month
Rebecca Simons, Executive Director of the Valley Children’s Advocacy Center in Staunton, shared some shocking statistics: “Approximately five children die each day as a result of child abuse. Experts estimate that one in ten children are sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. Child abuse is likely the most prevalent public health problem children face, with the most serious array of consequences.”
The Valley Children’s Advocacy Center is hosting a series of events in April to engage community partners and raise awareness to the prevalence child abuse in our community, promote strategies for preventing child abuse, and allow families to educate their children with fun, exciting, and family-friendly events.
- Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House- Friday, April 5, 11-5pm. Light refreshments will be served. Come see the Center’s new building, meet the staff, and learn about their services.
- Bingo- Monday, April 8, 6-9pm at Bedlam Brewing. A fun event designed to raise money for education and awareness. Prizes are limited, so get there early!
- 5th Annual Spring Gala- Saturday, April 13, 6-11pm. The Valley Children’s Advocacy Center is hosting its annual Spring Gala at the beautiful Red August Farm. With an exciting live auction and great band, Everyday People, you’ll enjoy a great time while supporting an even greater cause! Tickets are $100 per person.
- Moe’s Night April 16, 5-9pm at Waynesboro Location Come in, eat, and say hello to some Valley CAC staff members. Valley CAC gets 10% of all sales!
- The Tale- Thursday, April 18, 6-9pm at Francis Auditorium at Mary Baldwin. This is director Jennifer Fox’s personal memoir examining the journey from denial to truth and touches on the sensitive nature of child sexual abuse and its surrounding dynamics of abuse. Come view this visual masterpiece followed by a dialogue session with qualified professionals.
- Stewards of Children Training, April 30, 5:30-7:30pm at Valley Children’s Advocacy Center. This two-hour training teaches adults practical actions to prevent child abuse or intervene if abuse is suspected. This training will increase awareness of the prevalence, consequences, and circumstances of child abuse and participants will learn new skills to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to abuse
During April, you’ll also see a field of blue pinwheels outside the Centers new location at 1105 Greenville Ave, Staunton. Each pinwheel represents a child the Center has served who has been affected by child abuse in our community.
Child abuse: A local crisis
The Shenandoah Valley is not immune to the problem of child abuse and neglect. “We never discuss individual cases to ensure the privacy and protection of the children and families with whom we work, but the need for awareness and support in our area is overwhelming,” Rebecca explains. “Last year we assisted and supported 294 children from our community.”
The Valley Children’s Advocacy Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that follows the national child advocacy center model. As a nationally-accredited child advocacy center, the agency promotes a coordinated response between law enforcement, prosecutors, victims, witnesses, Child Protective Service workers, and medical and mental health professionals to ensure that needs of children who are victims are met. In the neutral setting of the Center, team members can collaborate on strategies that will aid investigators and prosecutors without causing further stress, harm, or trauma to the victim. This innovative, multidisciplinary approach significantly increases the likelihood of a successful outcome in court and long-term healing for the child.
For more information on the Valley Children’s Advocacy Center, or any of the special events contact the Center at 540-213-0592 or visit them on Facebook www.facebook.com/ValleyCAC.
To report child abuse, contact the Virginia Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-552-7096.
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