Mayor Chris Beutler today encouraged the community to respond to the child abuse allegations at Penn State by supporting the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), which serves children who are victims of serious physical and sexual assault. He and CAC Executive Director Lynn Ayers also stressed the importance of reporting suspected child abuse by calling local law enforcement agencies or 800-652-1999.
"Let's be the city that stands up and says, 'We will take a stand. We will make a difference. We will be there for our kids,'" Mayor Beutler said. "Let's channel our anger into a positive outcome for the children about whom we care. Child abuse is not limited to one university or one city. Unfortunately, child abuse is societal problem, one that we cope with every day right here in Lincoln, Nebraska."
Beutler urged the public to take action this Saturday, November 12:
Ayers said the CAC will serve about 1,000 children this year, but many more cases go unreported. "For every case that gets reported, there are 10 others that go unreported," she said. "Every day at the Child Advocacy Center, we salute the courage of the children who come forward to speak of their abuse. Sexual abuse thrives in a culture of secrecy and shame. As adults, we must demonstrate the same courage and act to protect our children. Educate yourself about the problem and if you suspect abuse, report it. It's really that simple. No exceptions and no excuses."
Working with law enforcement and other agencies, the CAC offers a safe, child-friendly environment for forensic interviews and medical evaluations of the child victim, and on-going support for the child and non-offending family. More information on CAC is available at smvoices.org.