April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Join us this month in raising awareness and taking action to prevent child abuse. Each year at the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara we see hundreds of children reported as victims of abuse and neglect right here in Niagara County. There are a number of ways you can help our center and the children in our community.

Make a Donation to the CAC

During the month of April, we ask that you choose to show support by donating to the CAC. The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara is a grant funded nonprofit agency that provides forensic interviews, therapeutic child abuse medical evaluations, evidence-based trauma specific counseling and victim advocacy services to children and families completely FREE of charge. We depend on support from our community to help us with our mission of providing a safe, comfortable, child friendly space for children. And we need your support to continue to provide crucial services to help children heal, reduce traumatization and prevent future abuse. And most importantly we need your help so that we can continue to make things just a little easier for children and their caregivers during some of the most difficult days of their lives.

“They made my child feel at home.”

“Everyone made me feel comfortable. I liked how they broke everything down so I could understand. Most of all how they really cared about my daughter and situation.”

“I loved how friendly & open everyone was with us. My children felt safe.”

Monetary Donations can be made through the NFMMC Foundation. Make sure to indicate  “CAC”  as the recipient of where you want your donation to go: https://nfmmc.org/about-us/foundation/#give   Or you can donate directly to the Center (cash, check, gift cards, etc)  by contacting Shelley Hitzel Executive Director shelley.hitzel@nfmmc.org. We welcome donations made in memory or recognition of the important people in your life or those who help keep kids safe!

Donate an item to our center. We update our wish list on a regular basis. The items on our wish list keep our waiting room filled with toys and books to make it a welcoming place for the children who visit us. https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1UQ8WEP5DBOCK?ref_=wl_share

Join Us at the Walk to End Child Abuse

Visit the Falls

Niagara Falls will be lit BLUE for Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 26th at 10:00pm.

Host a Less is More Training

Training includes:

  • Red flags and indicators of abuse
  • Tips for talking to children about abuse
  • Importance of the role of a Mandated Reporter
  • Know what is needed to make a call to CPS or Law-enforcement
  • What a CAC is and how it works
  • Why some cases do not move forward

To schedule a training, please email or call our Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Child Advocacy Center of Nagara at 716.285.004, or marissa.virtuoso@nfmmc.org.

Recognize the Signs of Abuse

Signs of child abuse can take many forms. Often one or two of these signs do not confirm that a child has been abused but are causes of concern.

  • Physical signs of abuse include unexplained injuries including bruising, burns, bites, broken bones, black eyes, or other complaints of pain.
  • Signs of sexual abuse include sexual behavior or knowledge that is beyond the child’s age, inappropriate sexual contact with other children, or witnessing an adult inappropriately touch a child, watching pornography with a child, or saying sexual things to a child.
  • Signs of neglect include lack of clothing to meet physical needs, lack of medical and dental are, frequent absence from school, or a caregiver’s drug and alcohol use to the point of impairment around children.
  • Children also have behavioral indicators of abuse. Abused children may have nightmares, anxiety or depression, low self-esteem, or problems in school. They may seem wary of adults or frightened to go home. Sometimes children who experience trauma or abuse show sudden changes in behavior such as changes in eating or sleeping patterns.

If you suspect a child is being abused, call the New York State Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-342-3720.

Talk to Kids About…Safe Adults, Body Safety, Private Parts, and Secrets

  • Name 5 safe adults who you can tell if something happens to you that is not safe.
  • Safe adults can live in home with you but also name some outside your home, like a teacher or counselor.
  • Your body belongs to you. You don’t have to hug or kiss or touch anyone you don’t want to.
  • Everyone has boundaries and everyone should respect your boundaries.
  • No one is allowed to touch your private parts or ask you to touch theirs.
  • No one is allowed to take pictures of your private parts or show you pictures of private parts.
  • Tell a safe adult if this happens.
  • No one should be asking you to keep a secret that makes you feel bad, scared or uncomfortable.
  • Tell a safe adult if someone asks you to keep a secret.