How you can help Family Services raise awareness of child abuse and sexual assault throughout the month of April.
By Erika Ritchie
April is Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year, our efforts to raise awareness and create positive change are as critical as ever.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed day-to-day life dramatically. Although the risk to children’s physical health from the outbreak itself appears to be lower…the risk to children for experiencing sexual or physical abuse or neglect is actually quite high. During this time of social distancing, children who are being abused have fewer safe places to go and fewer trusted adults to protect them.
One of the key ways we can prevent abuse from happening now – and all year round – is by ensuring that parents have proper support and guidance. Now is an especially stressful time for families as parents may be working from home or laid off and children are at home with them 24/7. For some parents, stress and frustration may begin to build up and, in extreme cases, it is children who may suffer.
Family Services continues to support hundreds of families during these difficult times. Thanks to our generous supporters, our staff have been busy reducing the stress on parents by delivering critical supplies to help meet their children’s basic needs. Home visitors are also providing much-needed support and encouragement to parents through virtual visits.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is also impacting the lives of survivors of child abuse and sexual assault. Their court cases seeking justice may be delayed. Anxiety around the outbreak may also be taking a negative toll on their healing process. Our Sexual Assault Center and Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center advocates are giving survivors all the support they can right now. Therapy sessions are being conducted via Telehealth, and our Sexual Assault Center hotlines remain open for those who need us.
Throughout the month of April, we’ll be sharing a series of blog posts in honor of Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness. These articles will offer parenting advice, tips on how to support survivors, and developmentally appropriate ways to talk to children about abuse.
You can also join advocates from our Sexual Assault Center by participating in the #30DaysofSAAM challenge in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To join, please follow @sacfsnew on Facebook and Instagram.
And if you’d like to help us continue delivering critical supplies and support to ensure that children are properly cared for, you are welcome to donate to our emergency COVID-19 fund.
Thank you for helping us raise awareness of these critical issues and for allowing us to protect, heal, and care for the children, families, and individuals who need it most during this unprecedented health emergency. And remember – now, more than ever, it is important to check in on your friends, family and neighbors in whatever way you safely can.