ALAMOSA — Recognizing the serious issues of child abuse and sexual assault, and expressing gratitude to those who work to prevent and treat victims of these abuses, the Alamosa city council on Wednesday issued proclamations for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, both in April.
Representatives were on hand from Tu Casa, which serves victims of domestic violence and operates the Children’s Advocacy Center.
“April is a busy month for us,” said Tu Casa Executive Director Patti Lara. Tu Casa will hold events commemorating Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month including a lunch and learn event the first Wednesday of April at the Hospice del Valle office in downtown Alamosa.
Lara said Tu Casa, which also operates the Children’s Advocacy Center, is the only agency locally serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
“We take that responsibility very seriously and work every day to ensure victims are treated with respect and with dignity,” Lara said.
She added that Tu Casa relies heavily on donations, and people in the San Luis Valley have been generous with their support.
Councilor Kristina Daniel read the proclamation for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month and thanked the staff who work with children.
The proclamation acknowledged that about four million reports are made to child protective services annually with child abuse and neglect affecting every community and requiring solutions and action from everyone in the community.
“Our children are our most valuable resources and will shape the future of the State of Colorado … Communities must make every effort to promote programs and activities that benefit children and their families … we acknowledge that we must work together as a community to increase awareness about child abuse and contribute to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families in a safe, stable, nurturing environment.”
Councilman Jan Vigil shared the National Sexual Assault Awareness Month proclamation, which called attention to the widespread incidence of sexual violence that impacts everyone in the community. The proclamation cited such statistics as: one in six boys and one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before age 18; youth ages 12-17 were 2.5 times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault; and one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted during their time in college.
“We must work together to educate our community about sexual violence prevention, supporting survivors, and speaking out against harmful attitudes and actions,” the proclamation stated. “Prevention is possible when everyone gets involved; the first step is increasing education, awareness, and community involvement.”
Caption: Receiving proclamations for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month during Wednesday’s city council meeting from left in front are Tu Casa Board Member Helen Taylor, Tu Casa staff Michelle Resendiz and Shelly Martinez and Tu Casa Executive Director Patti Lara. Supporting them from left are Alamosa Mayor Ty Coleman and Alamosa City Councilors Michael Carson, Liz Thomas Hensley, Jan Vigil, Charles Griego, Kristina Daniel and David Broyles.