The month of April is nationally known as Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) and Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Centre County Youth Service Bureau, Centre Safe, Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County, Children and Youth Services, Mount Nittany Health Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County, and YMCA of Centre County are partnering to raise awareness about the prevention and education efforts in Centre County. The local community can help support survivors of child abuse and sexual violence by participating in a variety of activities.
Throughout 2021, 67 child sexual abuse reports were investigated by Centre County CYS. There were a total of 32,919 reports of suspected child abuse received in 2020, as opposed to 42,252 reports in 2019. This decline is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the reduced contact between children and mandated reporters. Diana McWilliams, Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County, states, “As the new CAC director, I am inspired by the dedication displayed in this community to prevent child abuse and to respond when there is a cry for help. We take a pause each year in April to recognize the importance of cultivating awareness within the whole community around child abuse prevention. We are grateful that the Centre County community stands with us, without a pause, year round, to prevent child abuse and sexual violence.”
Join us on April 5th at Noon as we come together as a community to honor and support survivors and recognize those in our community who have made a difference on the Centre County Courthouse lawn. Partnering agencies and the community can get involved by participating in our Kindness Rocks and Chalk the Walk activities. Kindness Rocks is a viral trend where people paint rocks with inspirational messages or quotes and put them in a safe place for someone else to find. Chalk the Walk is another creative way to raise awareness by chalking inspirational and optimistic messages in front of each participating organization. Families are encouraged to attend the State College YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, April 30th from 1pm-4pm to participate in these various activities. The entire community is encouraged to join the movement. Be respectful, remember the mission, have fun, and be kind.