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Each year in this country more than 1,000 children suffer and die at the hands of those who should care for them. Sadly, the highest incidence of child abuse fatalities in Virginia occurs in the Hampton Roads area. This Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, Old Dominion University's In Support of Children organization will hold a candlelight vigil to honor and remember these children.

This year's vigil is being held in memory of Nixzmary Brown and all children suffering from abuse. Brown, of Brooklyn, N.Y., died at the age of 7 on Jan. 12, 2006. She was subjected to repeated torture, beating, abuse and malnutrition by her mother and stepfather, who currently are on trial for her death.

The vigil will begin at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the ODU Child Study Center, located at Hampton Boulevard and 45th Street. Candles will be provided and the event is open to the public.

In Support of Children (ISOC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit service organization founded in 1992 by Karen Polonko, professor of sociology and criminal justice, along with students in her Child Welfare class. ISOC advocates for an end to all forms of child maltreatment, especially physical punishment of children, and the promotion of positive partnering techniques.

Lou Lombardo, professor of sociology and criminal justice, is co-faculty adviser for ISOC.

"In America there is little hope of protecting children, of preventing harm to them, unless we, as a community, connect ourselves to principles that protect and support children before harm comes to them," Lombardo says. "A 'human rights' approach to children provides a set of principles that give children a chance before they are harmed or killed."

For more information, contact llombard@odu.edu or call 683-3800.

This article was posted on: February 11, 2008

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