April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and islanders are spreading the word on how to stop the problem of child abuse.

Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse (CADA) is taking the lead in the informational effort with an elaborate window display at the Oak Harbor Public Library.

The display was created by Barb Spence, CADA’s youth and education coordinator. She and Executive Director Margie Porter work with schools, stage puppet shows and make various presentations to educate young and old about child abuse.

While the subject of child abuse is dark, Spence’s library display is bright and lively. As Porter describes it, “The colors depict freshness and cheerfulness. The children’s faces in the display are happy and wholesome. There is a sense of safety and calm. Amidst the freshness and beauty of the scene, there is the message that children are harmed in our community every day in every way.”

CADA preaches community in volvement as the best way to stop child abuse. “Child abuse is not a family issue,” Porter said. “It is a crime.”

She said virtually everyone in the community has experienced some form of child abuse or knows someone who has been harmed in some way. Studies suggest that one in three girls and one in five boys are molested in some way before their 18th birthday.

People should confront child abuse rather than deny its existence, according to Porter.

“Child abuse prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” she said. “We can only protect children by taking full responsibility for our actions and speaking out when we know that others abuse children.”

CADA offers services to children and teens who are living in homes with domestic violence or who have been victims of sexual abuse. All services are free, confidential and available through Island County.

Services include a crisis help line, legal advocacy, crisis intervention, community education presentations and counseling.

“We can help,” Porter said, urging anyone impacted by child abuse to give CADA a call.

The number is 360-678-3030 or 800-215-5669. Also call if you’re interested in volunteering or making a contribution to fight child abuse.

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