CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Centre County residents are invited to ‘cultivate a community of care’, recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Centre Safe, an organization that provides confidential and free resources for people who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, organized a gathering on the steps of the Centre County Courthouse on Tuesday.

It was an opportunity to express community support for survivors of sexual violence and child abuse, and share educational information to help prevent violence before it starts.

“It takes an entire community to respond to and ultimately prevent both sexual violence and child abuse,” said Anne K. Ard, executive director for Centre Safe.

Centre Safe, Centre County Children and Youth Services, the Centre County Youth Service Bureau, the YMCA of Centre County, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County, and Mount Nittany Health presented an overview of their services and the impact they’re making locally.

“Last year, Centre Safe served nearly 500 survivors of sexual assault, including nearly 100 children,” said Ard. “Sexual violence and child abuse impacts all ages, all races, all gender identities, and those of all socioeconomic statuses.”

Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna and the Centre County commissioners shared their appreciation for the area’s services and expressed support for survivors.

“We believe you, we’re prepared to help you, it’s not your fault, it should not happen to anybody, and there is a dedicated team of professionals that will work with you,” said Cantorna. “We support you.”

Centre Safe is encouraging the community to wear denim on April 27 for Denim Day. They said it’s another opportunity to spread awareness and education around sexual violence.