Another installment from The News Leader of Staunton, Va's., landmark "PREY" series on the how the nationwide scourge of childhood sexual abuse is affecting Virginia's children and what can be done. The story finds that nearly two-thirds of suspected abuse cases in the Commonwealth result in no punishment for the alleged abuser.
"The issues stem from staffing at the prosecutor’s office and Child Protective Services, the culture of Virginia that inclines many jurists to doubt children’s accounts and the difficulty of getting testimony into court, say social workers and advocates."
Our Annual Report is out now! See where we've been, where we're headed, how we're measuring it, and how NCA supports the 795 CACs across the country that help kids who have been abused.
Wow! As an exclamation point to April's National Child Abuse Prevention Month, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just demonstrated their commitment to preventing and healing the trauma of child abuse with a $100,000 gift to NCA! The church also made a $25,000 gift to the Utah Attorney General's Office Children's Justice Center (CJC) Program, one of our oldest and most active state chapters with 22 member centers.
Children's Advocacy Centers—CACs—are crucial for kids who have been abused. This story is a primer on what we do. And on what happens when kids don't have access to a CAC—like the one-in-three kids in Virginia who don't.
Share this story with your friends, or read on to learn for yourself.
From The News Leader of Staunton, Va., comes some of the most detailed and responsible reporting on a state's child abuse response we've seen. Reporters spent six months detailing the successes and failures of the system for protecting and healing Virginia children from a plague of sexual abuse, and decades of its terrible aftermath.
Quoted and consulted experts include NCA's Teresa Huizar and representatives from Valley Children's Advocacy Center, Children's Advocacy Centers of Virginia, Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc., and others.
Local leaders in Memphis, Tenn., are recognizing the lifelong ill health effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) like abuse, and responding by opening Universal Parenting Places that offer therapy for kids and counseling for caregivers. The mayor even says that responding to the ACE research that ties these traumas to poor health outcomes is a basic philosophy of county government.
Amazing advances in forensic photoanalysis—and innovative thinking by investigators—are helping authorities find seemingly innocuous clues in photos sexual abusers take of their victims. Something as simple as a pill bottle or a fishing photo can now help keep children safe and law enforcement one step ahead of abusers.
Kimberly Cervantes is one of four students suing a California school district for failing to provide the same learning supports that students with autism, dyslexia, and other disabilities are guaranteed. Their common disability? Severe trauma symptoms from childhood abuse.
Governments across the country are reckoning with the damage caused by child abuse and other childhood traumas. How long until we recognize child abuse for the public health crisis it is?
Wisconsin is poised to enact a raft of six bills that aim to protect abused, trafficked, and missing children, including measures that increase funding for child protection agencies.
Our first warm day here in DC and our staff is making the dropoff for our March/April Philanthropy event: a delivery of much-needed diapers for low-income families through the DC Diaper Bank. Big thanks to Sarah, Kiley, Kathleen, Michelle, and Bryan (behind the camera) for braving the heat and diapers to kids who need them!
One hospital in Forth Worth, TX, is applying big-data principles to the prediction of child abuse "hot spots"—neighborhoods, even blocks, where child abuse is likely to reoccur. A 98% successful prediction rate shows the model works and tells CPS where to focus their resources. One Florida county using the model has managed to prevent any child abuse fatalities among children under court-ordered protection since adopting the new system.
Last weekend, more than 300 supporters of Judi's Place For Kids, an NCA member Children's Advocacy Center in Eastern Kentucky, showed up to participate in a 5K run/walk despite a surprise April snowstorm and chilly temperatures. Great to see a community supporting its CACs and its kids no matter the weather!
This National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we ask you to stand with Michelle Booth Cole, executive director of Safe Shores - The D.C. Children's Advocacy Center, in saying:
"I reject the premise that adults can ever be bystanders. Every adult has an obligation to protect every child. They are all our kids. No one gets to opt out."
It's Child Abuse Prevention Month across the nation, with ribbons and pinwheels popping up everywhere as communities take a stand to protect children. Read to see how one community is marking the month and visit nationalchildrensalliance.org/nca-members to find a CAC near you that can provide or connect you with child abuse prevention education.
A new foundation has been created to fight childhood sexual abuse in the name of Beau Biden, the late Delaware State Attorney General—and son of Vice President Joe Biden. The foundation seeks to carry on an unfinished goal of the fallen attorney general: to educate 35,000 Delaware residents on preventing abuse.
Early, Open, Often. That's how Committee for Children says we should talk to the children in our lives to keep them safe from sexual abuse. Check out their new website at EarlyOpenOften.org to find resources on how to talk to kids about abuse, protect them from it, and make the commitment to end child sexual abuse today.
"The simple fact is that children can’t consent to sex, let alone to sell sex."
NCA's entire staff across the country from California to New Hampshire is joining here in DC for our regular Staff Planning Days! Here our Director of Chapter Development Kristie Palestino is setting out vision cards to help us see where we're going!
Today marks the first day of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, held every April since President Reagan first proclaimed it in 1983. See ChildWelfare.gov's Prevention Month site for prevention resources and ways you can get involved.
More than a dozen of our dedicated State Chapter leaders from as far away as Oregon and as close as Virginia joined us today at Safe Shores - The D.C. Children's Advocacy Center for training on the tools we use to make sure the help CACs offer kids is the best it can be!
Scientists at the University of Arkansas who work with Children's Advocacy Centers have shown it's possible to literally see the effects of abuse on the child brain through an MRI. In the near future, they may be able to see which types of trauma treatment can most effectively help which children, and even understand the effects of trauma on brain development.
In a staggering one-third of all child sexual abuse cases, the abuse is committed by another child. That trauma is no less damaging than when a child is abused by an adult. But does the nation’s system for dealing with children with sexual behavior problems truly help to prevent abuse and to promote justice and healing for victims?
Australian research shows that when children are exposed pornography, it can lead to risky sexual behavior, and even the abuse of other children. And that means teenagers, too. In response, an Australian research center has produced a video designed for a young teenage audience explaining the dangers and reality of pornography and other sexual images.
As Pennsylvania communities reel from revelations of a decades-long Boston-style child sex abuse coverup in the small Catholic diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, it's easy to forget the staggering human cost of sexual abuse. Now adults, many victims of sexually abusive priests in Pennsylvania still bear the scars, even as many victims have become champions of new measures to protect kids.
In the U.K., reports of child abuse have risen a stunning 30 percent over the last year. Though some of the increase may have to do with changes in reporting, observers should watch this trend with concern and note the British government's response to this crisis.