Church Donates $100,000 to Combat Effects of Child Abuse

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 7 May 2015

LDS auxiliary leaders listen as program manager Susanne Mitchell welcomes them to a tour of the Avenues Children’s Justice Center Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Salt Lake City.  Photo by Scott G. Winterton.

Article Highlights

  • The Church delivers a $100,000 check to the Children’s Justice Center, which creates an atmosphere for children to speak about alleged abuse.
  • The funds came from the humanitarian offerings of Latter-day Saints around the world.
  • Protecting children and preserving their innocence is a high priority for the Church.

“As we consider the most fundamental social responsibilities, nothing surpasses protecting our children and preserving their innocence. … It’s really the highest priority at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” —Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson

Tears filled the eyes of Sister Rosemary M. Wixom as she delivered a $100,000 check April 28 to make it easier for children to speak up after they’ve been abused.

“We’ve all been touched by what we’ve seen here,” said the Primary general president after she and 10 other auxiliary leaders joined Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill on a tour of the Avenues Children’s Justice Center in Salt Lake City.

“The Church takes this matter very seriously,” said Sister Wixom, who for five years has led the Church auxiliary that serves 1.1 million LDS children around the world. “We all love children, and we have to do everything we can to help the child that may be suffering.”

Utah’s 22 children’s justice centers provide child-friendly atmospheres for children when they are interviewed by investigators and caseworkers regarding alleged abuse. The centers also provide referrals for support services for children and their parents or guardians.

The Avenues Children’s Justice Center has been located in a home in Salt Lake City’s Avenues neighborhood since 1991. Utah’s children’s justice centers saw 5,500 child victims last year. Parents and siblings are considered secondary victims. Including them, the centers helped about 13,000 people in 2014.

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, general Primary president, talks with Children’s Justice Center program manager Susanne Mitchell after giving a $100,000 donation from the Church for Utah’s 22 children’s justice centers on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Scott G. Winterton.

“The significance of your presence here is incredible,” the Salt Lake County district attorney said to the LDS leaders. “Your taking an interest speaks volumes.”

Other LDS leaders on the tour included Sister Wixom’s counselors, Sister Cheryl A. Esplin and Sister Jean A. Stevens; Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson; Elder Gary B. Porter, an Area Seventy and secretary to the Presiding Bishopric; the Young Women general presidency of Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Sister Carol F. McConkie, and Sister Neill F. Marriott; Brother M. Joseph Brough, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency; Sister Linda S. Reeves, a counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; and Brother Tad R. Callister, the Sunday School general president.

Bishop Stevenson said the Church funds came from the humanitarian offerings of Latter-day Saints around the world.

“As we consider the most fundamental social responsibilities, nothing surpasses protecting our children and preserving their innocence,” he said. “This issue cuts across politics, across ethnicity, and across religion. It’s really the highest priority at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”