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April 9

Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month: Protecting Our Children

April serves as an annual reminder of Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, dedicated to amplifying awareness and emphasizing the importance of shielding our youth from harm.

The Crime Victims Center (CVC) of Chester County serves as a place of comfort and support for people experiencing abuse. Naomi Devine, Prevention and Education Supervisor, and Ashley Shea, COO work as part of the center providing crucial services to people in our community. Reminding people of their resilience and changing their lives for the better.

“Right now, we’re looking at expanding our Internet safety program for younger students because we’ve gotten a lot of interest from younger grades,” stated Naomi.

Child abuse manifests in various forms—physical, emotional, sexual, and neglect—each leaving profound scars on a child’s psyche and development. The outcomes can be long-term emotional trauma, behavioral complexities, and, tragically, in severe instances, fatalities. Because of this, the CVC’s work is vital in educating people to know what to do when situations arise.

“It takes the prevention side and making sure that people have the knowledge and the words and the resources” stated Naomi.

Preventing child abuse needs a collaborative approach including individuals, communities, and organizations. Awareness is needed in prevention efforts — education, reporting protocols, and avenues for seeking assistance. Places like the CVC help with those collaborations.

“It was more of a friendship that the agency made with the police departments which allowed them to have open ears whenever we had some feedback or advice to give them about how to be more trauma-informed” stated Ashley.

The CVC empowers children with knowledge about their rights and personal boundaries which creates another important part of prevention. Educating them on body autonomy, consent, and avenues for seeking help fosters resilience and equips them to recognize and report abuse.

“In terms of the programs that we do, we have our child safety program from kindergarten to fifth grade where we talk about safety tools. We take the time to build upon consistent language from kindergarten to our third-grade programs so that by the time they’re in fifth grade, they have a huge vocabulary of what it means to be safe and what it means to not be safe,” said Naomi.

The CVC helped 345 children in our community in 2023. They are a valuable resource in the community.  As we observe Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, let us commit to fostering environments where children can flourish without fear of harm. Thank you to the Crime Victims Center of Chester County for their tireless efforts on behalf of our community’s children.