Keeping children safe is a job for everyone
Every day, there's another horror story somewhere in the news: a teen lured away by a friend she met on the Internet; the sexual abuse of a child; kidnapping; domestic violence.
Crimes like these shake us to the core because they involve the most innocent and vulnerable among us – children,
Being a crime victim at a young age can impact a child for life, and can lead to criminal activity and violence as adults. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designates June as Children's Awareness Month in order to focus on increasing awareness of the vulnerability of children to violence.
Last year, Alabama passed one of the country's toughest sex offender laws, increasing jail time from 10 to 20 years to keep the worst perpetrators off the streets.
The bill also increased jail time from two to 10 years for those who solicit a child by computer, commit first-degree sex abuse or possess child pornography. To track offenders once they leave jail, electronic tracking devices will be attached to their ankle for years after they are released, making sure they stay away from places like schools and playgrounds.
We must do whatever we can to stop these criminals from hurting someone else and to keep sex offenders away from children.
The State of Alabama sent a message to those who would harm children: we will find you, punish you harshly, and make sure that you don't do it again.
But harsh laws aren't enough. Children need positive role models, teachers, Sunday School teachers, and friends whom they can trust when they feel threatened. They need to grow up in a community in which grown-ups are willing to stand up for them and to report suspicious behaviors.
What better time to remind one's self of that responsibility than National Children's Awareness Month?