In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Niagara Falls will be lit blue – the nationally recognized symbol for child abuse prevention – for a short time this evening beginning at 9 p.m.
An estimated 3,000 children are abused each year in Erie County alone. In Niagara County, the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara handled 240 cases of severe sexual and physical abuse in 2019, including 11 fatalities.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip this region, forcing families to stay home in increasingly stressful situations, officials at the Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf (@BuffaloNYCAC) said April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month takes on special significance.
“As families’ daily routines are upended, children are forced to stay home from school, and parents and guardians are also working from home or out of work, we will likely see a spike in child abuse in our community,” said Rebecca Stevens, director of the Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf. “Our educators, often on the front lines of the fight against child abuse, have less of an opportunity to see and recognize the signs of abuse with children no longer in school. We felt it was more important than ever this year to raise awareness for this issue, and would like to thank the Niagara Falls Illumination Board for its support.”
A full list of signs a child is being physically or sexually abused, or neglected, plus resources for the community, are available at cacbuffalo.org.
The Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf is an innovative, comprehensive center offering safety, support, and a healthy place for children and families affected by trauma and abuse in Erie County.