Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), chair, Assembly Women and Children Committee, issued the following rallying call Monday to mark the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention Month:
“I think all of us either know someone or even suffered our own personal experience with the emotional, physical and psychological trauma of child abuse. For many people, this trauma has left scars that the victims will deal with for the rest of their lives.
“Thankfully, there is indeed hope for child abuse victims. Hope from supportive family members, friends and other loved ones. Hope found in professional counseling and treatment. For some child abuse victims, hope is found in confronting the abuser and taking legal action. All of these remedies are part of the healing process and may not look the same for each victim.
“During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, beginning today April 1, our nation has set aside time to draw special attention to this issue that has forever changed the lives of millions of women and men around the country. For far too long, silence surrounded this issue, and as a result, children suffered in fear and in shame.
“But no more.
“National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a designated time to bring awareness to this issue, take steps to protect our children and hold predators accountable. One such step is a new law that I co-sponsored requiring school districts to notify the State Board of Examiners when a teaching staff member fails to report child abuse as the cause for revocation or suspension of their certificate.
“I also am working on a bill (A-1707) that would expand the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect from 29 to 30 members to include a representative from the Child Placement Advisory Council. This addition will help the task force develop recommendations to help children receiving child protective services from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency within the Department of Children and Families.
“Children deserve to have every conceivable step taken to ensure that they do not fall victim to child abuse. In April and beyond, our children must be kept safe and not robbed of their innocence and childhood.”