The victims of child abuse and sexual assault often do not have a voice. The community is asked to help advocate for victims’ rights at Cabarrus County’s first Walk for Victims’ Rights to be held April 21 in downtown Concord.
“The more we learn about the impact of violence, particularly against children, the greater our responsibility to do something about it. It starts with speaking out. It is a community issue that affects all of us. We have to start talking about it. Otherwise our silence lets the violence continue,” said Becky Wilson of United Family Services.
April is National Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month and April 22–28 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Research shows that 44 percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 18, and 15 percent are younger than 12 years old. By age 18, one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused.
The approximate 2-mile Walk for Victims’ Rights will begin and end at the Cabarrus County Courthouse on the corner of Union Street and Corban Avenue in Concord. Information on community resources for victims and volunteer opportunities will be available. Featured speakers include Cabarrus County District Attorney Roxann Vaneekhoven and Merl Hamilton, former Concord Police Chief and current Concord Assistant City Manager.
There are several ways that individual citizens can help protect victims’ rights:
· Don’t be afraid to become involved to assist a victim or potential victim.
· Become familiar with the warning signs of abuse and know where to report information.
· Advocate for victim’s rights when the opportunity arises by showing support through participation in walks and events, attending community meetings about victim’s rights and protection of children, becoming a volunteer Guardian ad Litem to advocate on behalf of abused children in foster care, or becoming a victim advocate.
The walk is sponsored by United Family Services, Cabarrus County Department of Social Services, Cabarrus County Partnership for Children, Cabarrus County Guardian ad Litem and the Cabarrus County Child Protection Team.
The Walk for Victims’ Rights will be held Saturday, April 21 from 8 until 10:30 a.m. beginning at the Cabarrus County Courthouse in downtown Concord. On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m.
Individuals or groups are encouraged to pre-register for the walk by contacting United Family Services at 704-786-7918.