BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With a spotlight on child sex abuse cases across the country, Erie County officials are launching a new campaign. The goal is to educate the community, and get more children to report their abuse.
“We need to have this program, protecting and helping our children on our minds all the time,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. “We can’t and should not wait until something bad happens.”
Flynn was joined by child advocates Wednesday morning to launch the ‘Enough Abuse Campaign’ in Erie County, which is now the sixth county statewide to launch the effort. It will be run through the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center. Instructors will be available to teach anyone over the age of 12 signs of child sex abuse and prevention strategies. Materials for the program are provided by Prevent Child Abuse New York.
“We can be flexible with the amount of time that you have and the amount of people,” said Rebecca Stevens, the director of the Child Advocacy Center. “We could speak to 250 people in an auditorium or a small little book club.”
Four weeks ago, Flynn and State Senator Tim Kennedy called on the legislature to pass two pieces of legislation, related to child sex abuse cases. One, known as the Child Victims Act, would extend the statute of limitations for victims. The other would require private school employees to report allegations of abuse to authorities.
“All of these issues have one common theme,” Flynn said Wednesday. “That common theme is protecting our children.”
To date, neither of those bills have passed.
Senator Chris Jacobs also wants to get rid of the private school loophole.
“There is going to be some members in both the assembly and the senate that will have issues,” Jacobs said. “I can’t predict what they will be. But I can guarantee you even things you think are so simple. It always ends up being a little more of an endeavor to get it done.”
While neither bill has passed, there has been movement on them. The private school loophole bill, which is sponsored by Senator Pat Gallivan, did pass in its senate committee last week. Governor Cuomo says he wants to include the Child Victims Act in this year’s state budget.
To participate in the Enough Abuse Campaign, call 716-886-5437.