Safe Horizon, New York City Council and ACS Partner to Raise Awareness on Child Abuse This Summer
Posted on: Friday, July 20, 2012
SAFE HORIZON AND NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL REMIND NEW YORKERS THAT “CHILD ABUSERS DON’T TAKE THE SUMMER OFF”
Tips on Recognizing Child Abuse Issued to Organizations and Businesses to Compensate for Decline in Reporting from Teachers During Summer Months
With New York City public schools having begun their summer break on June 28, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and victims' services agency Safe Horizon announced today an effort to urge New Yorkers to be vigilant this summer in identifying and reporting suspected cases of child abuse.
During the school year, teachers are among the top reporters of suspected cases of child abuse. Over the summer of 2011, reports of child abuse to the State Central Register (SCR) dropped by 35%, from an average of approximately 15,000 each quarter during the school year to approximately 9,800 from July through September, according to the NYC Administration for Children Services.
Speaker Quinn and City Council Members will be distributing fliers created by Safe Horizon to businesses and organizations in their districts. With the heading “Child Abusers Don’t Take The Summer Off,” the flier provides tips on recognizing child abuse, and instructions on what to do and whom to call if child abuse is suspected.
"Child abuse doesn’t take a holiday,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Anytime, anywhere- if New Yorkers suspect a child’s safety is at risk, Safe Horizon’s campaign is a crucial reminder to not to turn their backs and not mind their own business. The Council is committed in their continued effort to combat abuse of any kind and make New York City the strongest, safest City it could be.”
“Children who are victims of abuse rely on the eyes, ears and judgment of adults to help them,” said Ariel Zwang, CEO of Safe Horizon. “We urge all New Yorkers, including those who are working in any kind of program with children this summer, to familiarize themselves with the signs of abuse, and whom they should call to get a child help.”
“We rely on everyone in New York City to help us protect children and keep them safe from harm,” said Commissioner Ronald E. Richter of the New York City Administration for Children's Services. “Anyone who is concerned that a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect must call the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline to make a report, even anonymously. Together we each can do our part to keep children safe this summer, and all year round.”
The Bystander and Child Abuse Study conducted by Safe Horizon found that while 97% of people believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to report abuse, 20% of Americans had been in situations where they suspected abuse, but weren’t sure what to do. 33% said they were reluctant to report suspected cases because they did not want to get involved.
The study also shows that 72% of Americans found it was difficult to recognize child abuse, and fewer than 10% could identify the major signs of abuse. The flier being distributed by the City Council asks people to trust their instincts and learn the signs of abuse, which include:
- unexplained injuries
- changes in behavior
- fear of going home
- aggressive behavior or inappropriate touching by an adult
Those who suspect a child is being abused are told to call the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Hotline at 1-800-342-3720 and 911 if the child is in immediate danger.
Safe Horizon, New York City’s largest victims' services agency, operates four nationally accredited Child Advocacy Centers that help more than 4,000 children in New York City each year and use a therapeutic team approach to investigating, prosecuting, and treating the most severe cases of child abuse. Safe Horizon’s centers are the first place that many child victims come to in order to take the first steps toward recovery from abuse, giving child victims the foundation they need to move from crisis to confidence.
As part of Safe Horizon’s mission to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities, the organization has also produced a 30 second public service announcement (PSA) for broadcast outlets. The PSA is available to the public on Safe Horizon’s web site at www.safehorizon.org and for download at www.psalibrary.com/library/safe-horizon/
About Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon is the largest victims’ services agency in the United States, with more than 50 locations touching the lives of 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse throughout New York City each year. Since 1978, Safe Horizon has provided victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, as well as homeless youth and families of homicide victims, with a wide range of comprehensive support. Our programs also partner with governmental and other community agencies so we can offer additional assistance, including finding resources for those living outside New York City.