Toronto Mayor David Miller launches Child Abuse Prevention Month; encourages community to take action



    
    Toronto-based Children's Aid Societies hold 3rd Annual Use Your Voice
                   Challenge to highlight 'Duty to Report'
    

    TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month,
Toronto Mayor David Miller will use his voice today in support of the city's
four Children's Aid Societies to launch the 3rd Annual Use Your Voice
Challenge at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. Designed to encourage the community
to report instances of child abuse and neglect, the Use Your Voice Challenge
will feature local media personalities and government officials.
    Participants in this friendly challenge will shout various child abuse
prevention messages, speaking as loudly as possible into a decibel-measurement
device to determine who has Toronto's strongest voice against child abuse.
M.J. DeSousa, vice president and chief audiologist at ListenUP! Canada, will
measure the volume output to determine today's winner.
    "As a community, we all have a responsibility to use our voices to help
stop child abuse," said Mayor Miller. "Our children are important - they are
our future - and we have to support our community to stand up and make a
difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children. I challenge and
encourage all Torontonians to act and help stop the cycle of silence by giving
these children a voice."
    Studies show that while citizens support the work of Children's Aid
Societies, almost half indicate a significant reluctance to report even the
suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Reasons for not reporting include fear of
retribution, not knowing where to call, a lack of understanding of what
constitutes abuse, and the belief that it is 'not my business.'
    "Reporting child abuse is never easy, but vulnerable children are
counting on all of us. The community has to act as the eyes and ears of local
Children's Aid Societies in reporting and preventing child abuse and neglect,"
said David Rivard, Executive Director, Children's Aid Society of Toronto.
    "The duty to report child abuse is unmistakable. If a person has
reasonable grounds to suspect that a child may be in need of protection, the
person must report the suspicion to a Children's Aid Society," said Mary
McConville, Executive Director, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto.
    The Use Your Voice Challenge was created to inform, educate and remind
people of their obligation to protect the innocence and safety of Toronto's
children and is now being replicated in various communities across the
province. The Stand Up For Kids Award, an award given to a local member of the
community in recognition of his significant contribution to protecting youth
from abuse and neglect, will be presented later this month.

    
    Other local personalities and government officials scheduled to
participate include:

    -   Anne-Marie Mediwake, Global News Anchor, Global TV
    -   Antony Robart, Global News Reporter, Global TV
    -   Pooja Handa, CP24 Anchor, Weather/Traffic Specialist
    -   Jill Dempsey, Host, CBC's Metro Morning
    -   Laurel Broten, M.P.P., Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Parliamentary Assistant
        to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
    -   Michael Thompson, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 37,
        Scarborough Centre
    -   Chin Lee, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 14, Scarborough, Rouge-River
    -   John Parker, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 26, Don Valley West
    

    The provincial Use Your Voice awareness campaign will also be launched
today in Toronto. The campaign will feature newspaper, magazine, outdoor,
digital, radio and TTC ads, along with ads placed in selected healthcare
waiting rooms. The campaign also features an online resource,
www.useyourvoice.ca. The campaign web site provides information about the
signs and indicators of physical, sexual and emotional abuse including
neglect, and how to contact a local Children's Aid Society. PSAs will be
broadcasted on two Toronto radio stations, starting today.
    Over the past year, Toronto Children's Aid Societies have investigated
more than 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, and provided care
for more than 40,000 area children.





For further information:

For further information: please visit www.useyourvoice.ca or contact:
Media only: Argyle Communications, Kyla Thoms, Kaleigh Sainthill: (416)
968-7311, ext. 237, 222, kthoms@argylecommunications.com,
ksainthill@argylecommunications.com; Anne Rappé, Manager, Communications,
Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, (416) 395-1506,
a.rappe@torontoccas.org; Rob Thompson, Manager, Communications, Children's Aid
Society of Toronto, (416) 924-4646 ext. 2086, rthompson@torontocas.ca


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