Thursday, April 25, 2024

County designates April as awareness month for sexual assault, child abuse

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The Hood County Commissioners Court presented two proclamations declaring April both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Hood County, during a regularly-scheduled meeting March 12.

Justin Rossner, representative for Mission Granbury and the Paluxy River Children’s Advocacy Center, read both proclamations during the meeting.

CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

According to the Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation, nearly 270,000 children in Texas were reported as abused or neglected last year. The National Children’s Alliance also reports that more than 600,000 children are abused in the U.S. each year.

The proclamation states child abuse prevention is a “community responsibility,” and that finding solutions depends on “involvement among all people.”

“Communities must make every effort to promote programs that benefit children and their families," Rossner said, reading from the proclamation.

He continued reading, “Effective child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnerships among agencies, schools, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community."

The proclamation concluded by stating “Everyone in the community should become more aware of child abuse prevention and consider helping parents raise their children in a safe, nurturing environment.”

The Hood County Commissioners Court then proclaimed the month of April 2024 Child Abuse Prevention Month, urging “all citizens to work together to help reduce child abuse and neglect significantly in years to come.”

SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

Rossner then read the proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Hood County.

According to the proclamation, sexual assault is a “serious crime that touches all communities regardless of age, race, disability, gender identity or socioeconomic status.”

Sexual Assault Awareness Month provides an “excellent opportunity for citizens to learn more about preventing sexual assault,” according to the proclamation, and will allow individuals to “show support for the organizations and individuals who provide critical advocacy, services and assistance to victims.”

On average, there are 463,634 victims ages 12 or older who suffer from rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every nine minutes, that victim is a child.

According to RAINN, the National Sexual Assault Hotline helped more than 27,000 victims per month nationwide in 2023.

Additionally, the proclamation revealed that Mission Granbury’s Victim Services Program served 161 sexual assault victims last fiscal year.

"Preventing sexual assault means changing the social norms that allow and condone violence and requires the collective voice and power of individuals, families, institutions and systems, each wholeheartedly committed to transforming our community,” Rossner said, reading from the proclamation.

The Hood County Commissioners Court then proclaimed April 2024 Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the county, in recognition of the important work done by “survivors, sexual assault programs, and victims’ service providers.”

The proclamation also urged residents to become involved in efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault and recognize the impact it has in our community.