Child Abuse Prevention Month April 1, 2020 WHEREAS, every child is entitled to love, care, security, and protection from abuse, exploitation, and neglect. As Alaskans, we will protect our children’s inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and WHEREAS, child abuse affects millions of children nationwide and thousands here at home, making it one of our society’s most serious public health issues. Over 90 percent of child abuse is perpetuated by people the children know, love, and trust; and WHEREAS, often, the devastating effects of emotional, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse go beyond the immediate trauma and lasts well into adulthood. Studies have shown that victims of childhood abuse are at high-risk for chronic mental and physical health issues such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, obesity, heart disease, and more. They are also more likely to act violently in dating relationships and to develop poor emotion-coping mechanisms; and WHEREAS, families and communities can come together to create a strong, healthy support network by, providing safe and nurturing homes free of violence, abuse, and neglect, extending helping hands to children and families in need, and providing safe child-friendly activities outside the home; and WHEREAS, child abuse and neglect can be prevented by supporting and strengthening Alaska’s families, making meaningful connections and partnerships between schools, professional health services, community and faith-based organizations, businesses, law enforcement, tribal leadership, and organizations; and WHEREAS, by working together, we can stem the tide of abuse in our Great State, strengthen our families and communities, and ensure that Alaska’s children enjoy brighter futures and grow to their full potential as healthy and productive citizens. NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 2020 as: Child Abuse Prevention Month in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to commit to preventing child abuse and to support efforts to ensure the safety of every child. Please report any instances of known or suspected child abuse and neglect by immediately calling 911 or your local police department, along with the Office of Children’s Services at 1-800-478-4444. Together, we will continue our efforts to provide safe homes and strong families in every Alaskan community.