Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Advocating for Our Children

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

It is hard to imagine that anyone would want to do anything but love, protect and nurture a child. Unfortunately, crimes are committed to even the most innocent of victims. As we recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CalVCP has renewed our commitment to help those who have been affected by this terrible crime.

Child abuse can impact a child’s life well into adulthood. Statistics show that child abuse fuels crime and has adverse health effects. Fortunately, there are many organizations that are helping our children through advocacy, safety, education, research, and assistance programs. Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) is one such non-profit organization. With chapters all over the world, this international organization exists with the intent to create a safer environment for abused children and empower and strengthen children to not feel afraid. A wounded child who has had a BACA intervention is 4 times more likely to testify in court. In fact most BACA children have improved self-confidence, diminished regressive behavior, increased feelings of safety, willingness to communicate, reduced feelings of guilt, decreased “acting out” behaviors, independence, and much more.

California takes crimes committed against young people very seriously and is dedicated to helping our children receive assistance. CalVCP provides assistance to victims of many crimes related to child abuse such as molest, corporal injury, illegal sexual intercourse, endangerment, rape, pornography and incest among others.

More than ever, our program is committed to aiding children as quickly as possible. Consequently, over the last two years CalVCP assisted nearly 14,000 child abuse victims paying over $22 million in assistance. Last year alone, CalVCP provided over $10 million in assistance for the costs of mental health treatment, nearly half a million dollars to pay for relocation and almost $200,000 for medical expenses.

It is important for us to do our part in staying informed and educated, and most importantly, to recognize the warning signs of child abuse. Please take some time to educate yourself through the various resources available by visiting www.preventchildabuse.org or www.bacaworld.org. I hope you will join me in recognizing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. May we further educate ourselves, consider volunteering, and support prevention programs!