Bredesen Proclaims April Child Abuse Prevention Month

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 | 07:00pm

First Lady To Participate in “AndreaWalks II” Events
Across the State to Raise Awareness

Nashville - Governor Phil Bredesen today announced he has proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month in Tennessee.

“The severe physical and sexual abuse of children is a crime, it’s prevalent and it’s underreported in our state,” said Bredesen. “Through public awareness, tougher penalties associated with child abuse, and through the creation of partnerships among social services organizations, law enforcement, schools, and religious organizations, we can work together to decrease the number of children who are affected by abuse. Andrea and I are pleased to pledge our support for Child Abuse Prevention Month in Tennessee.”

A longtime advocate for victims’ rights issues, First Lady Conte made promoting and providing support for the state’s child advocacy centers a priority issue when she became First Lady of Tennessee in 2003. Child Advocacy Centers offer a comprehensive approach to providing services for child victims of sexual or severe physical abuse and their families.

“Public awareness is essential if we want to stop the victimization of children. Recognizing possible signs of child abuse, knowing when and how to report abuse, and knowing the proper community resources where people can get help are things responsible adults need to know,” said Conte. “We all have the obligation to report child abuse when we suspect it, and initiatives like Child Abuse Prevention Month are one more way we can make Tennesseans aware of this important responsibility.”

From September 2004 until April 2005, Conte walked more than 600 miles across the state of Tennessee during “Andrea Walks for Tennessee’s Children,” an initiative she spearheaded to raise awareness about child sexual abuse, as well as to raise needed funds for 27 different organizations that provide counseling for child victims, awareness programs or professional training. At the end of the walk, “AndreaWalks” had raised approximately $1.4 million in cash and in-kind donations for these organizations.

During the month of April, Conte will travel across the state to continue raising awareness about child abuse prevention and to raise funds for support programs for child abuse victims. She will participate in a series of “AndreaWalks II” events being coordinated by local Child Advocacy Centers in Memphis, Athens, Chattanooga, Fayetteville, Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro and Tullahoma. More information about individual “AndreaWalks II” events will be released in communities hosting walks prior to event dates.

Governor Phil Bredesen ceremonially signs a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. First Lady Andrea Conte, State Representative John Hood, and members of Tennessee’s Child Abuse Prevention Council joined Bredesen for the signing. Child Abuse Prevention Month is an effort to raise awareness of child abuse and to encourage communities throughout the state to create partnerships which support parents in raising their children in safe, nurturing environments. Child Abuse Prevention Council members pictured with the Governor and First Lady in the attached photo are (L-R): Jeanne Brooks, Dr. Christopher Greeley, John Stracener, Bonnie Beneke, Juan Fisher, Carla Snodgrass and Carla Webb.

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