CASE Unveils Theme "Eyes Wide Open"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
March 15, 2013
 
CONTACT: Angie Eichelberger, Executive Assistant
 
Commissioner Martin Encourages Community Vigilance and Responsibility in Protecting Children in Lancaster County

LANCASTER COUNTY (March 15, 2013) –Today the Lancaster County Campaign Against Sexual Exploitation of Children Task Force (C.A.S.E.), unveiled its 2013 theme “Eyes Wide Open” and its community outreach plan for the upcoming year.

“We believe this year, more than ever, it is important to remind our community that it is each of our responsibilities to watch out for and protect our children –we must all keep our ‘Eyes Wide Open’“, stated Commissioner Scott Martin, Co-Chair of the C.A.S.E.. “Our 2013 theme and action plan challenges this community to become educated, be aware and to properly report suspected abuse.”

Bethany Woodcock, Co-Chair of C.A.S.E and Founder of Not In My Back Yard, elaborated that “C.A.S.E’s 2013 action plan includes building partnerships with local businesses and organizations to show a united voice against sexual abuse; speaking with area groups and offering internet safety training seminars; conducting an awareness poster campaign, and hosting community events.” In addition, C.A.S.E. will work to ensure that every citizen knows to report suspected child sexual abuse to ChildLine (1-800-932-0313), Pennsylvania’s official hotline number run through the Department of Public Welfare.

“Our 2013 plan builds off of our 2012 efforts of being in the community and determining how we can best aid in combating sexual abuse,” stated Commissioner Martin. Efforts which were nationally recognized and highlighted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in their updated Tool Kits for County’s across the Country to reference when implementing C.A.S.E. in their areas. “It is a great honor to have been highlighted by NCMEC and it is a true testament to the commitment of those who serve on the Task Force and of our community’s willingness to embrace this subject and fight to eliminate child sexual abuse,” continued Martin.

In addition, C.A.S.E. also announced its 3rd annual poster contest for children in Lancaster County grades K-12. This year’s theme, Eyes Wide Open, encourages youth to know and practice safety and to be aware of their surroundings. “This contest offers a great way for parents and teachers to talk with our youth about staying safe in an age appropriate manor and provides an alternate way for children to express their thoughts on the subject” commented Bethany Woodcock. The poster contest runs through April 22 and winners will be announced at a May reception.

According to NCMEC, one in five girls and one in ten boys will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood. In Lancaster County, the Lancaster County Children and Youth Agency investigated 258 cases of child sexual abuse in 2011. Since 2006, more than 2,000 referrals have been made to the Lancaster County Children’s Alliance, which provides forensic and medical examinations for children in Lancaster County. “These are startling numbers and a somber reality of the sexual abuse that occurs in Lancaster County,” stated Commissioner Dennis Stuckey. “We are proud of the work done by the Lancaster County C.A.S.E. Task Force to raise awareness in Lancaster County.”

“We hope the entire Lancaster County community will recognize the importance of this issue and continue to embrace the efforts of Lancaster County C.A.S.E.,” stated Commissioner Craig Lehman. “We encourage local businesses, organizations, groups and individuals to take advantage of the partnership options made available by the Lancaster County C.A.S.E. Task Force.

To learn more about Lancaster County C.A.S.E initiatives, including the 2013 Poster Contest rules, please visit www.LancasterCountyCASE.org. For additional information about ChildLine, please visit www.dpw.state.pa.us