City declares Oct. 24 Child Abuse Prevention Day
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Lindsay McIntyre and Billy Russell, with the Purple Ribbon Campaign Committee, address council on Tuesday night. Tuesday, Oct. 24 has been declared “Child Abuse Prevention Day” in the City of Pembroke.
Mayor Mike LeMay has declared Tuesday, Oct. 24 “Child Abuse Prevention Day” in the City of Pembroke.
October is Child Abuse Prevention Month, an initiative of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. On Tuesday, Oct. 24, communities across Ontario will be asking people to dress in purple to break the silence and show their commitment to children’s rights to safety and well-being.
“Children are vital to the growth and spirit of communities,” said the mayor as he read out the proclamation. “Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, loving and stable family, freew from physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse, neglect and exploitation.”
The overarching message of Child Abuse Prevention Month from community leaders at the event was that citizens need to collectively speak up and share the message that child abuse and neglect can be prevented and that help is available. Children and teens are often subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and exposure to domestic violence. Child neglect is also considered an equally serious child protection concern. According to the association, research shows that the impact of neglect on child development and well-being can be more damaging than any other kind of abuse.
Speaking on behalf of the Purple Ribbon campaign, Lindsay McIntyre and Billy Russell said they have received a great response to the month-long campaign from the community. The main message that the committee wants to promote is that if someone sees abuse taking place or hears about it, then they should report it.
“It takes a whole community of people to keep kids safe,” said Russell.
They explained to council that Section 72 of the Child and Family Services Act states that the public, including professionals who work with children, must promptly report any suspicions that a child is or may be in need of protection to a children's aid society.
“We all have a duty to report whether you are a professional or not,” said McIntyre.
Schools throughout the county will be participating in at-school activities and the public is encouraged to participate by wearing purple on Oct. 24, the official Dress Purple Day. Various smaller events are organized throughout the month, which can be viewed in detail by following the campaign’s Facebook Page @purpleribboncampaignRC. People attending this Sunday's Pembroke Lumber Kings game against Kemptville are also encouraged to wear purple.