Cedar Falls Public Safety is partnering with Riverview Center and UnityPoint Health – Allen Child Protection Center (ACPC) to increase education and encourage public discussion during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, recognized nationally every April.
Both organizations work together with Public Safety year-round to offer vital support to the community. The Allen Child Protection Center provides assistance for children or dependent adults who may be victims of abuse, or have witnessed a violent crime.
"Child protection centers are a necessary resource for law enforcement as we partner with ACPC on a vast majority of cases involving children," said Cedar Falls Investigator Brooke Helgeson. "The center provides specialized skills to interview and examine children who have been involved in a traumatic incident or incidents. They also help families by offering additional community resources as well as aid law enforcement in our criminal investigations."
Riverview Center provides free sexual assault services to 14 counties in the Northeast Region of Iowa including Black Hawk County.
"Riverview serves as an advocate by providing guidance, support, and resources for survivors of sexual violence," said Investigator Helgeson.
To increase awareness, Cedar Falls Public Safety will have teal and dark blue magnets displayed on each of their police cruisers throughout April.
"We want to overcome the stigma by opening the public conversation and promote resources so that individuals can get the support they need," said Investigator Helgeson. "The magnets invite citizens to ask questions and learn more about the lasting effect sexual assault and child abuse have on victims and the community as a whole. This trauma can leave survivors with long-term issues of post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, suicide, and more."
Cedar Falls Public Safety will also be working with both organizations to promote resources for those seeking help as well as provide additional education to officers so they can effectively assist victims of trauma.
"We would like to thank Riverview and ACPC for their continued work and dedication to keeping the children in our community safe from violence, supporting survivors who have suffered through a traumatic incident, and assisting families when they need it most," said Investigator Helgeson.