DeLissio participates in PA Blue Ribbon Champion for Kids ceremony

Inaugural awards ceremony highlights child abuse awareness month

PHILADELPHIA, April 13 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., participated in the PA Blue Ribbon Champion for Kids award ceremony April 5 in the Capitol to recognize Child Abuse Awareness Month.

The PA Blue Ribbon Champion for Kids award recognizes those who have been instrumental in protecting children in the commonwealth with the goal of heightening awareness of the role each Pennsylvanian plays in safeguarding children from abuse and neglect.

DeLissio had the honor of nominating one of the award recipients, Sarah Pesi, who was recognized for helping to craft and advocate for state legislation that expanded protection of abuse orders to cover people who are less than acquainted with their abusers. Before the legislation was signed into law in 2014, a PFA could only be applied to a relative or current/former intimate partner.

Sarah, at age 12, was stalked and harassed by an adult coach while she was a youth referee and was shocked to learn that she could not file for a PFA under her circumstances. She spent her time researching other states’ laws and eventually was successful in lobbying the commonwealth to pass a law that covered her situation, and hundreds, if not thousands, of other Pennsylvanians’ circumstances.

“Sarah is a remarkable young lady and when this nomination opportunity arose, she immediately came to mind,” said DeLissio, who met her through the Women and Girl’s Foundation’s Girl Gov program.

According to the state Department of Human Services, 34 children in Pennsylvania died of child abuse-related causes and an additional 4,032 children were victims of abuse in 2015.

“April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and is a time to acknowledge the importance of individuals, families, communities and organizations working together to prevent child abuse and neglect,” DeLissio said. “As a member of the PA House Children and Youth Committee, I am committed to working to shape the best policy to protect our children.”