Football fans who ventured to a table set up outside Ralph Wilson Stadium before Sunday’s game were urged to inform themselves about child abuse and to sign a petition encouraging Erie County leaders to do more to help eradicate abuse and domestic violence.
Melanie Blow, an incest survivor who lives in Rochester and is a driving force behind the “Stop Abuse Campaign,” wants Erie County leaders to adopt, among other things, the Quincy Solution. She made the case Sunday along with members of Eian’s Echo, a group named for the Buffalo boy killed by his mother’s live-in boyfriend last year. Blow described the Quincy solution as “a group of best practices that prevent domestic violence and the child abuse that is associated with domestic violence.” Between 40 to 60 percent of child abuse happens in homes with domestic violence, Blow said.
Named for the Massachusetts city that has seen success with it, the Quincy Solution involves use of an especially vigilant court system and employs modern technology when possible. For example, dangerous abusers can be denied bail or forced to wear a GPS device that alerts police and victims if offenders go near the victim. Cameras can be installed in a victim’s home to dissuade abusers from returning.
The Stop Abuse Campaign also wants Erie County to expand use of home-visiting programs, such as Healthy Families New York, which direct support workers into the homes of eligible families. Erie County also is urged to make available to any interested parent a high-quality course in recognizing and preventing sexual abuse.
“Most parents don’t have any idea how to [protect] their children from sexual abuse,” Blow said. “If people understand the dynamics of it, if people understand what to look for in an adult — signs that the child is being ‘groomed’ for sexual abuse — they are able to protect those kids.
“But they are not able to if they don’t understand what is going on, what to look for,’’ she said. “If they think registries work very well, if they think Megan’s Law works very well, they don’t think they need to worry about it.”
But she said that because no more than 10 percent of sex offenders are convicted, sex offender registries apply to only that 10 percent.
Sunday’s informational effort outside Ralph Wilson Stadium also involved “Eain’s Echo,” another group that works to eradicate child abuse through awareness and stronger laws. Eain’s Echo was begun by Carolyn Spring-Baker, paternal great-grandmother to Eain Brooks, the 5-year-old killed in Buffalo by his mother’s live-in boyfriend despite repeated calls of concern to the county’s Child Protective Services unit. The boyfriend, Matthew Kuzdzal, was sentenced last month to 50 years to life in prison.
Meanwhile, the National Football League has begun a campaign to stress its concerns about domestic violence and sexual abuse after highly publicized incidents involving NFL players, including Ray Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens running back. Rice on Friday won an appeal of his indefinite suspension from the league, allowing his return to an NFL team.
Said Blow: “The NFL just told Ray Rice and told anyone else who does abuse their partner, ‘You get to do this, and you experience no consequences.’”