TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Months, Lauren’s Kids is announcing outreach and awareness campaigns and sharing free resources in the month of April to help prevent child abuse and childhood sexual assault. Incidences of child sexual abuse and exploitation have spiked during COVID-19 amid warnings from the FBI.
“The topics of child abuse and sexual assault can be scary and uncomfortable to talk about, but until we shatter the stigma that surrounds them, children and adults will continue to suffer in silence,” said Senator Lauren Book, Founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids, and a survivor herself. “We think ‘no one in my life is experiencing abuse – I would know,’ but in reality, one in three girls and one in five boys will become a victim of sexual abuse, and 45 percent of kids don’t tell anyone for at least five years. With education, awareness, and advocacy, we can prevent abuse and make sure survivors know that it’s OK to tell – and it’s OK to heal.”
Public awareness efforts and free prevention resources include:
Digital Dangers PSA
In the month of April, Lauren’s Kids’ is releasing a new public service announcement highlighting the ever-growing prevalence of apps, social media sites, and other child- and teen-focused digital properties being used by online predators to gain access to and exploit children. With 1 in 5 children being sexually solicited online and with kids spending more time than usual on digital devices, it’s more important than ever we bring awareness to the dangers of online predators and provide resources to help families with children stay safe. Lauren’s Kids has partnered with TV stations across Florida and with CBS Cares nationally to broadcast this important message. To view the PSA, click here.
FREE Prevention Resources for Families
Lauren’s Kids is committed to ensuring parents and caregivers have the tools they need to prevent instances of child sexual abuse and provides free comprehensive and interactive printed and digital resources for families.
- To teach elementary school-aged children the basics of personal and online safety, Lauren’s Kids has developed an activity pack called the “Blueprint for Building Safer, Smarter Families.”. These printed packs are available for order at no cost here; this resource is also available digitally here.
- To teach children and teens of all ages personal safety strategies and tools, including children with special needs, Lauren’s Kids has developed a free online “Family Safety Toolkit Generator.” To access video lessons and safety resources, click here.
FREE Resources for Survivors and their Parents
Lauren’s Kids and the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence created the “Guide to Hope and Healing” to provide essential information and answer questions that often arise after a child’s disclosure of sexual abuse, available at no cost to families. To receive a printed manual with resources as well as activities for child and teen survivors, click here; a ‘lite’ version of the resource has been made available digitally here.
Journey Home TV Show – Highlighting Children’s Advocacy Center Rebuild Post Hurricane Michael
In October of 2018, Hurricane Michael ravaged the Florida Panhandle and destroyed everything in its path, including the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center which provides a private, therapeutic and safe environment for survivors to of child sexual abuse to heal. After hearing of the devastation Lauren’s Kids, who works to prevent child sexual abuse and help survivors heal, and AshBritt, Inc., the nation’s leading emergency management logistics company, took action and funded more than $750,000 for the rebuild of the Trauma Therapy House to provide a state-of-the-art, therapeutic space to help children who have survived physical and sexual abuse once again begin to heal. As part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Lauren’s Kids is releasing the “The Journey Home,” a new for-television awareness program which will air in media markets across Florida in the month of April highlighting this incredible multi-year project and the resilience of survivors. You won’t want to miss this emotional Journey Home… To view a preview and complete listing of show times near you, click here.
42 Miles for the 42 Million Virtual Walk
Lauren’s Kids is taking its annual walk virtual this year allowing advocates, community leaders, allies, and survivors from all over the state and the nation to participate in walking 42 miles in the month of April in honor and commemoration of the 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse who live in the United States today. The virtual walk is an adaptation of the Lauren’s Kids 42+ hour walk in the Florida State Capitol and the Lauren’s Kids 1,500 mile “Walk in My Shoes” tradition which spanned from Tallahassee to Key West. To learn more, or to sign up to participate, click here.
In addition to the resources above, the Lauren’s Kids foundation provides a personal safety and abuse prevention curriculum program, called “Safer, Smarter Kids” (K-12) and “Safer, Smarter Teens” (Middle/High) at no cost to Florida’s public and charter schools. This curriculum impacts more than one million children annually. Children who receive school-based education about child sexual abuse are 3.5 times more likely to report if they had been/were being abused, compared to children who did not receive that education.