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Child Abuse Prevention Month 2024

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month!

In 1874, the first documented case of child abuse occurred in New York with Mary Ellen Wilson. This led to the creation of the non-governmental New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Similar organizations were created across the country, with over 300 in place by 1922. In 1912, the federal government created the Children’s Bureau, in order to investigate & report on matters of the welfare of children; this was the first time the federal government played a part in taking responsibility for the welfare of children.

In 1962, Dr. C. Henry Kempe & Brandt F. Steele published “The Battered Child Syndrome” article through the Journal of American Medical Association, exposing the reality of child abuse and giving doctors ways to identify, understand, and report child abuse. By 1967, all 50 states had passed legislation mandating reporting of child abuse in some form.

In 1974, The Child Abuse Protection & Treatment Act was passed on the federal level, providing funding to states for prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse. It now provides the minimum standard for child maltreatment definitions across the nation. It was also through this process that the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (now the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect) was created in order to be the forefront of addressing the national problem of child abuse.

Congress designated June 6-12, 1982 as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. In 1983, April was formally designated at the first Child Abuse Prevention Month.

In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign was started by a grandmother in Virginia in honor of her grandson who passed away as a result of child abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to her car’s antenna.

Today, the color blue is widely used to represent Child Abuse Prevention.

A more in-depth history of the Child Abuse Protection & Treatment Act, or overviews of the past National Conferences of Child Abuse & Neglect can be found here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/focus-areas/child-abuse-neglect/nccan

Why is Child Abuse Prevention Month important to us?

While the ACCAC has been supporting child victims and their families in Adams County for since 2006, there is still work to be done. Throughout those years, the ACCAC experienced an increase in physical abuse cases seen at our center, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Currently, 36% of children visiting our center experience multiple forms of abuse.

The ACCAC is working to grow our programs in order to continue providing the best services to children and families in the Adams County community. You can learn about the plans for building The Brighter Tomorrows Center here.

  • in 2022:
    • 39,093 total reports of child abuse were made across the state
    • Of those, 4,992 were verified reports
      • 62.2% of victims were female and 37.8% were male
      • 467 victims were less than 1 year old
      • 1,035 were between 1 and 4 years old
      • 1,483 were between 5 and 9 years old
      • 1,443 were between 10 and 14 years old
      • 564 were 15 years old or older
    • Reports included 5,383 total allegations*
      • 38.2% sexual abuse
      • 27.9% physical abuse
      • 13.9% likely to cause bodily injury
      • 12.6% serious physical neglect
      • 4% engaging in acts without injury (i.e. actions that endanger the child, unreasonably restraining the child, etc.)
      • 1.8% likely involving sexual exploitation
      • 1% mental injury
      • <1% trafficking or medical abuse

*individual reports may contain more than one allegation, causing the number of allegations to be higher than that of reports.

  • In 2022:
    • 394 reports of child abuse were made across the county
    • Of those, 57 were verified reports
      • 56.4% of victims were female and 43.6% were male.
      • 11 cases consisted of repeat abuse
      • 1 case involved a child fatality
      • 1 case involved a near fatality
    • The allegations made consisted of:
      • 32.8% sexual abuse
      • 41.0% physical abuse
      • 9.8% serious physical neglect
      • 8.2% engaging in acts without injury (i.e. actions endangering the child, unreasonably restraining the child, etc.)
      • 6.6% reasonable likelihood of bodily injury
      • 1.6% likely involving sexual exploitation
    • 17.4 abuse reports were made per 1,000 children
    • 72.2 children were assessed per 1,000 children for GPS allegations (not meeting criteria for abuse but a need to prevent harm exists, i.e. caregiver or child substance use, caregiver or child behavioral health, truancy, inadequate basic needs, etc.)
  • In 2022-2023 fiscal year at the CAC:
    • 217 child victims received support
      • Accompanied by 225 caregivers and 86 siblings or other family members
    • 199 Forensic Interviews were completed
      • 29% of victims reported multiple types of victimization
      • 136 victims were children between 3 and 12 years old
      • 81 victims were 13 years or older
    • Over 4,000 children received prevention education lessons in their local pre-k, daycare, elementary school or intermediate school.
    • 50 children received mental health services, with 594 individual sessions conducted
    • 1,976 community members were provided resources and information through our community outreach efforts.

Interested in spreading the word about preventing child abuse?

ACCAC has created an Outreach Toolkit to help you participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month and share information across your social media pages!

As a caregiver, you can review these Safety Rules and share them with the children in your life to help them stay safe.

To bring a bit of brightness to child victims of abuse, please consider submitting a virtual Encouragement Card here.

Child Abuse Prevention Month Events

In 2023, over 100 Adams County businesses SHINED BLUE for Child Abuse Prevention Month. We hope you will continue to help raise awareness for 2024 by displaying blue lights outside your home and/or business. Displaying blue lights shows your support of Child Abuse Prevention Month and helps raise further awareness!

  • How to Participate:
    • Display any blue light outside your home and/or business. If you need to purchase blue lights, you can do so here: https://bit.ly/3JPX06X
      • For any business that displays a blue light, we will provide a free window cling for being a supporter of the CAC!
    • For residents, we encourage you to hang this poster in your window so visitors can learn why you’re shining blue for child abuse prevention.
    • Let us know you’re participating by emailing gro.cacniagasdik@ofni. We’ll recognize your support across social media!
    • Share photos of your lights shining bright on social media and tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse @KidsAgainCAC
    • You can also this photo to show your support on social media!

Wearing blue clothing during April is a tangible way to show your compassion & empathy for child victims and your support for kids, families, & prevention. Publicly displaying your blue helps to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month and start the conversation that prevention is in our hands!

  • How to Participate:
    • Wear blue clothing (shirt, pants, socks, scarf, hat, etc.) every Friday in April.
      • 4/5, 4/12, 4/19 and 4/26
    • Share photos on social media of your team, staff, friends, family, pets, and of course yourself wearing blue & tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse and @KidsAgainCAC

Join us for fundraisers hosted by local businesses throughout April!

April 17th | evening: One Lincoln (The Gettysburg Hotel) — proceeds from purchases of the “Charity Special” will benefit ACCAC

April 27th | 12:00pm-4:00pm: Good Samaritan Lodge 336 F.&A.M.a portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit ACCAC

Sundays | 2:00pm-5:00pm: Reid’s Winery Tasting Room & Cidery— during Open Mic Nights, 10% of proceeds will benefit ACCAC

Research has proven that when at least 5% of a community’s adults receive child abuse prevention training, the incidences of child abuse are reduced. You can be part of our community’s 5% by taking our free, virtual training and sharing our informational social media posts!

Join us via Facebook Live on April 18th at 5:00pm for a live showing of the training or watch below!

  • Once you’ve completed the training, post on your social media, letting others know you’re part of the 5% and encouraging them to be part, too!
    • Free posts for you to choose from: Post #1, Post #2, and Post #3
    • When you share the posts, tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse and @KidsAgainCAC
  • Click here to download the Prevention Tips sheet and here to download the Safety Rules

Display an Adams County Children’s Advocacy garden flag & yard sign at your home and/or business to help raise awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month & show your support!

  • How to Participate:
    • Purchase your Garden Flag & Yard Sign Set by completing this order form and returning to the office (450 W. Middle St, Gettysburg) or purchase online using the form below.
      • 1 Flag and the Display stand cost $20
    • Share a picture of your set on social media and tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse and @KidsAgainCAC

Make a one-time or recurring, tax-deductible donation to support our prevention education efforts and on-going services.

Did you know?

  • $30 empowers 1 child with “Child Safety Matters” Prevention Education
  • $50 delivers education and resources to adult community members
  • $100 gives 1 child 1 Trauma Therapy session
  • $250 funds a Survivor’s support group
  • $500 supports 1 child victim & their family with Advocacy Support
  • $1,200 provides therapy sessions for 1 child for 1 year.

Click here to make an online donation or mail a check made out to “Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center” to our office:
450 W. Middle Street, Gettysburg PA 17235

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