Everyone is talking about child sexual abuse. Talking is better than doing nothing, but action is what is needed. Dear legislators: Please pass Georgia House Bill 676 ending the statute of limitations on sex offenses against children.
Legislators are in the position to give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools necessary to bring sex offenders, pedophiles and sexual predators to justice. Please take that action and make all children safer.
Nineteen states require all adults to report suspected child abuse. Georgia and South Carolina are not among those. Why not mandate that all adults must report child abuse, adult abuse, domestic violence, etc? That would make so much sense.
TALK IS GOOD, yet action is necessary, and not only by way of our legislators. For children to be safe, all adults must be aware and take action.
Georgia spends more than $250 million each year on child welfare. Most of that budget is within the state Department of Family and Children Services. DFCS has a lot of responsibilities beyond child and elderly protection, but my calls go to law enforcement when I suspect that child abuse is happening. Law enforcement is accountable and it follows up.
Charities are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting children and the elderly. Locally: Child Enrichment; Safe Homes; Rape Crisis; KidsRestart; the Area Agency on Aging; and the Senior Citizens Council all are heroic in their advocacy for the victimized and vulnerable.
At Child Enrichment, we struggle with the horrors of child victimization every day. We obsess about it, live it, hate it and have nightmares about it – and much of the time we feel so totally alone in dealing with it. Yet, the staff has one another, and there are people out there who support our efforts, but we need more help.
The board is good, and current and previous members certainly care. Our court-appointed special advocates volunteers lift us, support us and work with us to help the innocent child victims. Law enforcement, the district attorney’s office and even our adversaries in court help by being professional and by assuring that the accused have their rights upheld.
IT IS NOT JUST the trauma-filled aspect of our work that strains us. Running a charity with very little guaranteed financial support also takes a toll on all of us – not knowing if you will make payroll, especially when victimized children need our services. So, for those of you who are talking about child sexual abuse, how about taking action? Do something! When you suspect child or elder abuse, report it. When in doubt, report it. You can donate money or material goods, and you can volunteer.
The life of a child or a senior may be in jeopardy. Together we can make this a safer place. Together we can make sure everyone knows that child and elder abuse will not be tolerated, and that abusers will be investigated, prosecuted and incarcerated.
It really feels good to save the life of a child. You, too, can help.
(The writer is executive director of Child Enrichment Inc., the Child Advocacy Center and Court Appointed Special Advocates.)