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Child abuse rally urges victims, witnesses to speak up

Photo by Michael Mroziak

Relatives of victims in several local abuse cases gathered in Niagara Square Friday to rally as part of Child Abuse Awareness Month.Among those present was Kevin Retzer, the uncle of Jay J Bolvin, who was abused by his father. A law in Jay J's name passed in Albany last year, toughening punishments for offenders.

Retzer says abuse happens among all ages, among all socioeconomic backgrounds and that all must stand together to confront and stop it.

"Silence is not an action. Doing nothing is not an action. There are things that can be done and should be done," Retzer said.

"Whether it's dating violence, whether it's family violence, whether it's abusing a child, teen violence or bullying, we're all united."

State Senator Tim Kennedy, who sponsored Jay J's Law, says government needs to do its part. He says lawmakers are working on efforts to improve mandated reporting.

"There are 80,o00 children, according to the most recent statistics, that are abused and neglected in New York State every year," said Kennedy. "Enough is enough."

Among the messages relayed is that neighbors who suspect abuse cases need to speak up and victims need to know they are not alone and have numerous resources available to assist and protect them.