Here are some alarming numbers: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused during childhood. The average age of the victims: 9.
“This is a social epidemic and a real tragedy,” said Heather Randazzo, program coordinator for the Childhood Trauma Treatment Program run by Advocate Health Care. “A tremendous number of people experience abuse and don’t come forward.
“It’s like slavery,” she said. “We all have to do something in order to end it.”
That something begins with increased awareness, and what better time to consider this than during National Child Abuse Prevention month.
In addition to evaluating and treating children who have been abused, the program, with offices in Oak Lawn and Bolingbrook, sponsors workshops aimed at helping adults help children.
It has just trained its 1,000th adult in the Stewards of Children community outreach program. As a result, more than 10,000 children are now better protected from sexual abuse, Randazzo said.
Helping the helpers
The Childhood Trauma Treatment Program relies on funding from United Way and local fundraising efforts. On April 13, it will host the 16th Annual Start Early Run to raise awareness and generate funds. The public can help by participating or donating directly.
Officials said 100 percent of donations go to support the program, which has been providing specialized psychological services to the community for more than 30 years.
For more information, visit www.advocatehealth.com/cttp
BY Donna Vickroy with The Herald-News, A Chicago Sun-Times Publication
Twitter: @dvickroy April 8, 2013 4:40PM