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Last year, AYCO formed the Health and Well Being committee specifically to address issues related to mental health, suicide prevention, and sexual abuse in the circus community over the course of 2018.  Today we find ourselves with a greater sense of urgency as the past week has brought with it devastating news about unacceptable behavior by individuals in the circus community including Barry Lubin and William Allen.

We are seeking support from people who are interested in playing a role in gathering and developing resources for the youth circus and circus education community on these topics.  Our Health and Wellbeing committee is currently comprised of Dr. Jen Agans, Dr. Anne Miller, Bones Newstead, Jesse AlFord, and Marci Diamond. If you have resources or expertise in this area and would like to rise up and support this conversation at the national level, please contact amy@americanyouthcircus.org.

There are many national organizations that are dedicated to providing services to individuals and groups related to sexual abuse that can help the circus community during this time.  At the bottom of this note we have listed resources that you can use to seek help, speak up, educate your staff, and nurture your community.  In addition to these national resources, we highly recommend that you form a relationship with your local sexual abuse support organization (find one here) so that you have a contact you know and trust in your area.

We at the American Youth Circus Organization will not stand idly by in the face of sexual abuse in the circus community.  We will actively work to protect the holistic safety of youth participating in circus arts and the larger health and well being of the circus community – this is the absolute priority in our sector. Our community must rise above this by working together to innovate and implement strategies to build and maintain safe circus spaces for all. We are devoted to ensuring that this is a top priority for AYCO/ACE and will be in touch continually as resources and opportunities are developed.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any specific questions or concerns and I will do my absolute best to direct you to an appropriate resource.

Sincerely,

Amy Cohen

Executive Director AYCO/ACE

Resources:

National Sexual Assault Hotline and Website: Help is available 24/7 for all types of sexual abuse, no matter how long ago or recent, at local centers.  Phone number (800 -656-4673), chat hotline, and national database of local centers that you can visit.

http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org – If you are a parent, teacher, or friend seeking resources to advocate for a child in need.

http://stopitnow.org/  – Visit this website if you worry someone may be doing harm. It provides a unique toll-free and confidential Helpline (1.888.PREVENT), email and chat service as well as provides the tools and guidance to have difficult conversations and take necessary actions to plan for children’s safety for anyone reaching out for help.

http://www.atsa.com/ ATSA is an international, interdisciplinary, non-profit organization dedicated to making society safer by preventing sexual abuse. ATSA encourages sound research, effective practice, informed policy, and comprehensive prevention strategies, all designed to create safer communities.

http://www.csom.org/ The Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) is a national clearinghouse and technical assistance center that supports state and local jurisdictions in the effective management of sex offenders.