April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. On the SouthCoast, the Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County is at the forefront of this issue, offering counseling and training to children, parents and others to help them cope with the trauma of abuse and violence.

The center is located on Arch Street in Fall River, with more than 5,000 children coming through its doors since opening in 2007.

Co-Directors Cathy Rutkowski and Lara Stone and Outreach Coordinator Kyla Farias joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the agency's mission and some of its outreach programs.

"We provide a coordinated response to disclosures and allegations of child sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual exploitation and for kids who witness violence," Stone said.

The agency also does a lot of community outreach and training with young people, teenagers, parent groups and first responders.

"We focus on education and prevention," Farias said. "I provide trainings for parents and youth. I go into the schools and we train teens on commercial sexual exploitation, as well as how to use social media in a positive way, and online predators they could run into."

The Children's Advocacy Center is sponsoring several outreach programs during the month of April, some online and some in person. Visit cacofbc.org for more information.

Investigating child abuse can be difficult work, but Rutkowski said her staff is equal to the task.

"We are a small group, but we are mighty," she said. "We have a team of committed women doing this very difficult work."

The CAC recently completed a $3 million fundraising campaign to renovate and expand its space in Fall River. Much of the work was done during the pandemic, while the center continued to serve its clients. The grand opening was held in September.

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard Sundays at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on WBSM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make the SouthCoast a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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