AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, University of Texas Coach Mack Brown, Texas A&M University Coach Kevin Sumlin and University of Houston Coach Tony Levine have joined forces with Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX) to combat the sexual abuse of children and support the “One With Courage” campaign.
Launched by CACTX in 2010, “One With Courage” is a statewide initiative to raise public awareness and help protect children from sexual abuse. “One With Courage” seeks to highlight the fact that it takes tremendous courage for child victims to reveal that they are being sexually abused – and encourages adults to help protect them by learning to discuss the issue and identify signs of child sexual abuse.
Attorney General Abbott and Amanda Van Hoozer, Director of Program Services at the Center for Child Protection, encouraged adults to learn more about the signs of child sexual abuse so that they know how to respond if a child summons the courage and attempts to reveal falling victim to sexual abuse. Head coaches from collegiate Texas football programs in the cities of Austin, College Station and Houston added a new chorus of support for “One With Courage” when they recently recorded public service announcements of their own. Citing the important role adults and CACs play in the State’s child abuse prevention efforts, the football coaches encouraged all Texans to help protect children from sexual abuse.
Expressing support for CACTX and the football coaches’ efforts to prevent child sexual abuse, Attorney General Abbott issued the following statement urging all Texans to learn more about identifying the signs of child sexual abuse:
“It takes tremendous courage for child abuse victims to come forward and report the trauma they have suffered at the hands of their abusers. Thanks to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas’ ‘One With Courage’ public service campaign, Texans all across the state will be encouraged to learn more about identifying signs of child sexual abuse – and know how to respond when the littlest victims summon the courage to share the awful truth about being abused. With the encouragement and support of well-informed, trusted adults, our state’s youngest victims will escape their abusers, begin rebuilding their lives and start down the path to a bright and promising future.”
Through radio, television and Internet public service announcements, the “One With Courage” campaign educates Texans about the signs of child sexual abuse. The campaign also dispels generally accepted “myths” about child sexual abuse and provides Texas communities with specific steps they can take to make a difference in a child’s life.
The “One With Courage” campaign’s chief goal is to inspire all Texans to join the fight to prevent child sexual abuse. Whether it involves starting a dialogue with a child victim, teaching others to recognize the signs of abuse or volunteering at a local children’s advocacy center (CAC), all Texans can make a difference in the lives of child abuse victims. Local CAC offices in cities across Texas offer a safe, nonthreatening environment that is designed help young victims tell their difficult stories to specially trained professionals. As a result, child abuse victims are only subjected to a single interview session where all the officials who need to participate – law enforcement, child protection officers, medical professionals, prosecutors and others – obtain the information they need to protect the victim and hold the abuser accountable. By allowing children to tell their story one time in one location, CACs spare victims the pain of re-living the agony and trauma of the crimes committed against them.
The Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund, which is administered by the Attorney General’s Office, awarded CACTX an Other Victim Assistance Grant of $200,000 for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. CACTX used the award to expand the “One With Courage” campaign.
The following Texas football coaches joined the fight against child abuse and recorded public service announcements for the “One With Courage” campaign:
• University of Texas Longhorns Coach Mack Brown
• Texas A&M University Aggies Coach Kevin Sumlin
• University of Houston Coach Tony Levine
Other universities, including Texas Christian University, collaborate locally with their CACs about preventing child sexual abuse.
To learn more about the “One With Courage” campaign, visit www.onewithcourage.org.