Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month Recognized by Children’s Justice Centers
In recognition of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, Children’s Justice Centers across the state are participating in a variety of activities during the month of April, including three events on the Big Island.
According to Hawai’i Children’s Justice Centers, over 50 percent of reported victims of crime throughout the state are under the age of 18. In addition, research provided by the centers indicate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before they are 18.
“We are here to help and provide justice for children,” said Jasmine Mau Mukai, Director of the Children’s Justice Centers. “Many people who drive past our centers can often mistake them for a house, but our intention is to provide a warm, homelike setting where children can feel as comfortable as possible to reduce the trauma of speaking out.”
Children who witness crimes or are alleged victims of abuse can go to a center and meet with a multidisciplinary team of professionals who coordinate these investigations. The CJC’s are programs of the Hawai’i State Judiciary.
Since 1988, when the first CJC opened, more than 30,000 children have been served in Hawai’i.
A unique feature of the Centers is the public/private partnerships between the Judiciary and the community. Founded by local Rotary Clubs, each neighbor island center is supported by their Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for the centers, the professionals who work with victims, and the children and families served by the programs.
On Friday, April 8 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the East Hawai’i Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect will present a free Family Fun Night at Sangha Hall. The event includes food, games, prizes, and entertainment.
Later in the month, on Friday, April 29 from 5:30 p.m., the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of East Hawai’i will be hosting their annual “Justice for Children Gala” and Recognition Dinner at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel’s Moku Ola Room.
Tickets and tables can be purchased online.
Then on Wednesday, May 4, Kids Matter- Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of West Hawai’i will be recognizing their Child Welfare Services Investigators.
Several events will also take place on Oahu and Maui.