Released by The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center
LONGVIEW/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - Thanks to a generous grant from The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation, The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center will be educating East Texans about child abuse issues. AEP donated $32,400 toward a comprehensive, multi-media advertising campaign called No Excuse for Child Abuse.
The grant will help pay for the development and implementation of television and radio spots, billboards, newspaper ads, printed materials, and speaking engagements. This campaign is also made possible through public service announcements with airtime and advertising space being provided by area media outlets. The campaign is projected to run for one year beginning in September 2013.
The ad campaign will cover a variety of topics including Internet dangers, recognizing the signs and symptoms of abuse, and how to report suspicions. The No Excuse for Child Abuse message will focus primarily on residents in Gregg and Harrison Counties where more than 440 children received services through The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center in 2012.
"We are thrilled and honored that The AEP Foundation has funded our grant," said The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center's Executive Director, Roxanne Stevenson. "We share AEP's mission of building stronger communities and appreciate their support of the work we do to protect children. This campaign will help us raise awareness about child abuse issues and prevention strategies so that all children in East Texas have an opportunity to grow up in a safer environment."
Keith Honey, external affairs manager at SWEPCO and vice-chair of The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center Board of Directors, has been a strong supporter of the center's programs and services for more than three years.
"East Texas is a great place to live," said Honey, "but, unfortunately, our communities are not immune from the tragedy of child abuse. AEP is proud to partner with The Martin House to support this vital education and awareness initiative."
Children are more likely to heal and communities become safer when collaborative protection efforts, victim advocacy programs, and support services are available. The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center provides those services.
"Researchers estimate that one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused in some way before reaching the age of 18, but only one out of 10 children will tell," said Stevenson. "That's why adults need to know the signs and symptoms of abuse and be prepared to speak up on behalf of a child."
The campaign has the potential to reach 200,000 people who live or work in Gregg, Harrison, and surrounding counties. Goals of the program are:
Raise awareness about the prevalence of child abuse in East Texas
Educate people of all ages about how to reduce risk and report suspicions
Encourage abuse victims who are suffering in silence to seek help
Assist investigators from Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement
Empower people to make our communities safer for all children
Key statistics from the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services' annual report for fiscal year 2012 include:
7,054,634 - Texas child population
64,366 - # of child abuse and/or neglect victims in Texas
16,972 - # of children removed from their homes due to abuse/neglect
212 - # of child deaths due to abuse or neglect
557 - # of confirmed child abuse and/or neglect victims in Gregg and Harrison Counties
6 - # of child deaths in Gregg and Harrison Counties due to abuse or neglect
The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization founded in 2009. Its mission is to ensure that every child who comes to the center suffering from abuse has an opportunity to be heard, feel protected, and receive services that are vital for his or her continued safety and future well-being. The Center partners with investigators from law enforcement, Child Protective Services, the district attorney's office, and medical and mental health professionals in Gregg and Harrison Counties to provide services to child abuse victims and their non-offending family members free of charge.
For more information about The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center of Gregg and Harrison Counties, please contact Roxanne Stevenson, Executive Director, at 903-807-0189, Roxanne@TheMartinHouseCAC.org or visit the website at www.TheMartinHouseCAC.org.