SALT LAKE CITY April 17, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement on Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, including a highlight of the Children’s Justice Centers and the important multidisciplinary work they do to help children affected by abuse recover:
“April is both National Prevent Child Abuse Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Both speak to issues important to ensuring our state’s many communities are safe for all. The Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) works tirelessly to stop sexual assault and child abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.
“The Utah AGO is proud to support and work alongside community partners to break the cycle of abuse and prevent sexual assaults from taking place in domestic situations as well as work and campus environments. From our own Attorney General-sponsored One With Courage initiative to numerous efforts from NGOs, corporate and non-profit partners, we can make a difference by continuing to educate and raise awareness of the horror of all types of abuse while doing everything to lift victims and survivors to a safe place.
“In addition, the Utah AGO has prioritized the protection of children from all forms of abuse. Administered under the AGO, the Children’s Justice Centers (CJCs) are child-focused, facility-based, safe environments in which representatives from law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical services, and victim advocacy work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions about investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse cases.
“In an average year, Utah’s CJCs conduct 4,500 interviews, handle 5,500 cases, and serve as many as 15,000 people. They are an incredible asset to our communities and to our state. With over 25 years of experience, the CJCs’ multidisciplinary approach to supporting child victims impacted by crime and abuse helps children recover from the trauma of abuse.
“The Utah CJC Program includes 20 locations serving communities across the state. The result is a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective child and family focused system response possible.
“One of the most effective ways we can prevent child abuse is to ensure parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to care for their children. Research shows families are strengthened when there is nurturing and attachment, knowledge about parenting and child and youth development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports for parents. As we strengthen families, we strengthen our communities, and we protect children from abuse and sexual assault.”
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