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Elizabethtown supports child, sexual abuse prevention efforts

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By Amber Coulter

City officials issued proclamations Friday to raise awareness about sexual abuse and child abuse and show support for the work of the Advocacy and Support Center on Rineyville Road in Elizabethtown.

Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker signed a proclamation declaring this March as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The proclamation states that “sexual violence is a continuum of intolerable and violent crimes with public health implications for every person in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

He also signed a proclamation declaring next month as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The proclamation states that child abuse is considered one of the most serious public health problems and increases during periods of stress and economic challenges, when families feel more vulnerable.

Walker said it is important for the community to support the issues because officials from the advocacy center, law enforcement and various other departments and organizations come into contact with people affected by them.

“These groups we must support because it goes from our law enforcement all the way up to our judicial system,” he said.
Walker said the city has made similar proclamations for Springhaven Inc.

“A proclamation is a way to show that we are all working together to raise awareness,” he said.

Hardin Circuit Judge Kelly Mark Easton said the proclamations also are important to him because courts always will be involved in issues that involve sexual assault and child abuse.

“The courts are here to show our support for these issues,” he said.

Proclamations create awareness about important issues, which is important to the advocacy center and the courts, he said.

Robin Farris, victim advocate for the center, said awareness is important for many reasons, including making victims more likely to report violations and making people more vigilant and informed when they see signs of sexual abuse and child abuse.

“Probably the most common thing we hear is, ‘We didn’t know you exist. We didn’t know you were out here,’” she said.

Shelley Adkins, executive director of the center, said the center works collaboratively with multiple agencies within the community.

“It’s important that we have support from the community as a whole,” she said.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.