LDS Church donates $100,000 to child abuse prevention organization

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Danna Osuma

Child abuse prevention advocates met with the leader of the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month on Thursday, April 28, according to Mormon Newsroom. BYU-Hawaii students said they’re grateful for the church’s attention towards this cause.

“Child abuse is something that can be stopped as we increase awareness and set up precautions,” said Taimi Guiterrez, a junior international cultural studies major from the Philippines. She said she heard of several incidents of abuse while growing up in the Philippines. “It is something I am against because it causes adverse effects on the children. It is good that the church is helping the children because children are from God,” said Guiterrez.

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, the Young Women general president, met with and presented a $100,000 donation to Teresa Huizar, executive director of the National Children’s Alliance, the national association and accrediting body for children’s advocacy centers, according to Mormon Newsroom. Sister Oscarson also presented a $25,000 check from the LDS Church to Susanne Mitchell, director of the Children’s Justice Centers in Salt Lake County. The money will be used to help families heal from abuse at children’s advocacy centers in the United States and at more than 20 centers in Utah, says Mormon Newsroom.

“This is extraordinary,” said Mitchell as she accepted the donation for Utah’s centers. “It really honors the work that we do. It really shows the community that it takes a community to address this problem. We all need to work together and I feel such harmony in our efforts that take us further than we could possibly go alone.”

Losehina Tongi, a freshman computer science major from Samoa, said, “I think that it is so great the church is doing their best to help the community," She said child abuse is a problem despite her not hearing about too many of the crimes. “It is sad to think that there are children getting hurt by people who should be taking care of them,” she added.

Sister Oscarson said the church has put resources in place to help children who have been abused, including a 24-hour hotline that can put leaders in touch with a counselor. Safeguards have also been put in place in the church’s youth programs, including a requirement to have two leaders present during activities.

Lee Yi Hong, a freshman business major from Singapore, said he was impressed by the measures the church has put up to protect children. “In the church, we are very careful,” said Lee. He said he is grateful to be in the LDS Church because of the protocol leaders and organizations have. “We will be protected if we follow the rules.”

The local district attorney administers the Salt Lake County Children’s Justice Center. The program provides assistance with investigations involving sexual abuse, physical abuse, child homicide, domestic violence-related child abuse, abductions and shaken baby syndrome.

Uploaded May 11, 2016.