April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month

Submitted by Marisa Chavez

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and Child Abuse Awareness Month. The purpose of this month is to raise awareness and prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and all forms of child abuse in our community. It is impossible to prevent an issue that no one talks about, and difficult to make people aware of a problem without a solution.

Children are some of the most vulnerable members of society, 1 in 7 children in the United States has experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. In 2021, 65% of cases investigated at Children’s Advocacy Centers involved sexual abuse allegations. 

When it comes to suspected child abuse or neglect, you can contact your local child protective services or law enforcement agency. Anyone can report suspected child abuse, and all employees of the Tulalip Tribes are mandated to make such reports. When making a report, provide a complete, honest account of the observations that led you to suspect the occurrence of child abuse or neglect. After you make a report, it will be sent to child protective services (CPS) and beda?chelh. Once the report is received, social workers review the information and determine if an investigation is needed. Social workers may talk with the family, the child, or others to help determine any safety concerns for the child. Social workers and advocates can work together to help parents or other caregivers get services, education, or other needed assistance.

Adults also experience sexual assault at high rates – nearly 1 in 3 American Indian and Alaska Native women have been raped and 1 in 4 American Indian and Alaska Native men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. 41% of sexual assaults against American Indians are committed by a stranger, 34% by an acquaintance, and 25% by an intimate partner or family member. These statistics may not present an accurate representation of how often sexual violence occurs in native communities, since many survivors do not come forward after a sexual assault or report it to law enforcement. 

You do not need to report the crime to law enforcement to receive advocacy services following a sexual assault. Legacy of Healing has advocates available to support adult survivors of sexual assault, and can explain the options available to survivors when it comes to pursuing justice through the legal system. The Children’s Advocacy Center has advocates available to support survivors of all forms of child abuse, as well as their caregivers. Your advocate will walk alongside you as you navigate these complex systems, and get you connected with other needed social services. You do not have to deal with this alone, and there is help available within our community.

Throughout the month of April, the Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center and Legacy of Healing invite you to participate in raising awareness within our community by attending our events and expanding your knowledge of sexual violence and child abuse. See our Save-the-Date card and mark your calendar for all of our upcoming events!

If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual violence or child abuse and are need of services, help is available! Please call one of these numbers provided for support: 

Resources for Children

If you see someone harming a child, or you are experiencing another emergency, call 911.

  • Child Abuse Intake Hotline: 866-ENDHARM (866-363-4276)
  • Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center: 360-716-KIDS (5437)
  • Daytime CPS Office for Snohomish County: 866-829-2153
  • Nights and Weekends CPS Office Line: 800-562-5624
  • beda?chelh: 360-716-3284
  • Resources for Adults
  • Legacy of Healing: 360-716-4100
  • Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse (PICAA): 425-252-4800
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline:  844-7NATIVE (844-762-8483)