Thursday, April 4, 2013
Advocacy organization taps social media to publicize Child Abuse Awareness Month
Keep up with Collin County Children's Advocacy Center on Facebook.
PLANO The Collin County Children's Advocacy Center is teaming up with similar groups in eight other North Texas counties to take a stand for Child Abuse Awareness Month.
"No excuse for child abuse" is the slogan for the campaign, which brings together advocacy centers in Fannin, Grayson, Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman, Navarro and Tarrant counties for a large-scale social media and marketing effort designed to bring awareness to the phenomenon of child abuse.
Katy Emerson, community relations manager for the Collin County Children's Advocacy Center, said each advocacy center participating in the campaign has taken a different approach to spreading the word.
In Collin County, churches have been asked to emphasize child abuse awareness on National Prayer Day, April 28, by asking their congregations to keep victims of child abuse in their prayers and reciting "We Pray for the Children" by Ina Hughes.
"Once you see some of the statistics that are going to be posted during the month, some of them will absolutely knock your socks off," she said.
The campaign will also be interactive, with April 10 being designated as "Show Your Blue Day." Schools, corporations and residents will be asked to wear blue in opposition to child abuse and post pictures of their outfits to the advocacy center's Facebook page.
"Our main goal this month is just to make sure the community realizes ... that we have children victimized in Collin County in every single ZIP code every single year," Emerson said. "This is something that reaches every socioeconomic class, every nationality and every race. There's a place out there, the Collin County Children's Advocacy Center, where they can turn to for help."
The center is also taking its message to the streets. On Monday, staff members put up a banner with the tagline "No excuse for child abuse" at the corner of Preston Road and Tulane Drive, with 1,082 flags stuck in the ground below to signify the children victimized by abuse in Collin County last year.
The center will also conduct free educational seminars regarding child abuse upon request, Emerson said. The presentations, which identify the signs and symptoms of child abuse, are geared toward community groups, churches and corporations.
"We're really encouraging people to start talking about this to their children, because we know only one in every 10 children actually report this to someone," she said "... We know of the 1,082 kids that came through our doors last year, that's only one tenth of the kids that were victimized last year in Collin County, and that's absolutely alarming."
Dan Leale, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center in Denton County, said the tagline was adapted from a successful campaign in Fannin County. He said the campaign is bringing much-needed branding to North Texas advocacy centers.
"Instead of us trying to do this on our own, let's do this together. Children's advocacy centers work in collaboration every day," he said. "... I think it's already started to be successful, so we're very proud of that."
Electronic toolkits, including printable awareness posters, are also being sent to local businesses. Companies wishing to participate in the campaign can contact Emerson at 972-633-6752 or visit caccollincounty.org.
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