Mallory Hagan became the first Miss America from Brooklyn when she was crowned the pageant winner in January 2013. After winning this title, Hagan partnered with the Brooklyn District Attorney yesterday, February 28th, to spread awareness about child sexual abuse. In order to speak out about this issue, Hagan, along with the Brooklyn DA and its Crimes Against Children Bureau, taped a public service announcement on this issue and read a book to a group of children that incorporated victims of sexual abuse.
Hagan chose to tackle this serious issue because in her family alone, five women have been harmed by childhood sexual abuse. This type of abuse is a severe violation of children’s rights that affects tens of thousands of youth each year. It can cause many adverse physical, emotional, and psychological health conditions in victims. The Brooklyn DA Crimes Against Children Bureau was created by District Attorney Charles J. Hynes in 1997 in recognition of the need to prosecute child sex abuse cases as well as protect victims from additional traumatization within the criminal justice system. This Bureau also works with the Brooklyn community to inform parents, educators, and community leaders about child sexual abuse, in attempt to help victims in our community and prevent future abuses of children’s rights from occurring.
Child sexual abuse is a severe family, criminal and children’s law issue that affects far too many youth, causing serious trauma and severe harm. Spreading awareness is a critical step in preventing future abuse from occurring, and we commend Hagan’s efforts along with the Brooklyn DA’s work towards tackling this issue.