| Today's NAASCA news:
October 30, 2014
6 Halloween safety tips every parent needs to know
by Lauren Book
Halloween night is upon us — a time of costumes, candy and fun scares. The following tips will help keep your children safe during a night of trick-or-treating.
1. Children should remain with a trusted adult. If you can't accompany your children trick-or-treating, it's important that the chaperone is someone you and your children can count among your most trusted friends or family members. Don't allow your children to walk into a home alone, even if they're invited to walk into a haunted house or Halloween party.
2. Make a P.L.A.N. If your children are old enough to be without your supervision, develop a P.L.A.N. Your children must have Permission before they go anywhere, and choose a trick-or-treating Location you are familiar with. Ask your children for a list of specific Activities and times, and hold them accountable to that schedule. Finally, collect the Names and phone Numbers of the people your children will be with on Halloween night.
3. Talk about safe and unsafe secrets. Your children may have opted to keep their costumes a secret until Halloween. While this is fine, it is important to teach your children that not all secrets are safe. Secrets that are never meant to be told and make a child feel nervous or "icky" are unsafe secrets. Let your children know they need to come to you or another trusted adult for help if they have an unsafe secret.
4. Teach children what a stranger really is. Children often think strangers are big, scary people wearing dark colors. They need to know that, especially during a time when people wear costumes, strangers are anyone they don't know well. Strangers don't always look scary, and it is important to decide if someone is safe or unsafe based on how they make you feel, not by how they look on the outside.
5. Empower children to listen to their inner voice and speak up. Sometimes children don't want to go up to a specific house because it looks scary — this is OK! Teach your children that when they are unsure of a situation and a voice inside is telling them something isn't right, they should listen. Children may be in an unsafe situation and feel like they can't speak up or ask for help. By using a loud and confident voice to say, "Stop! That's not safe!" children are able to grab the attention of a trusted adult quickly and get help.
6. Check the offender/predator registry. When deciding on a neighborhood or route for trick-or-treating, it's a good idea to search the online registry of sexual offenders and predators at offender.fdle.state.fl.us so you can determine which houses to avoid.
Many of these safety tips are based on concepts from the Lauren's Kids Safer, Smarter Kids abuse prevention curriculum. For more information about child safety and the Lauren's Kids foundation, visit: LaurensKids.org
Lauren Book, M.S.Ed., is the founder and CEO of Lauren's Kids and works to prevent child abuse and help survivors heal. She can be reached at: email@example.com
Westchester County Police Department Keeping Sex Offenders Off The Street For Halloween
from the Westchester County Police Department blog
WESTCHESTER, NY -- For the 10th Halloween in a row, Westchester County will require all sex offenders on probation to attend an educational forum to keep local sex offenders off the streets while children trick or treat.
More than 160 registered and non-registered sex offenders on probation in Westchester County have received special “invitations” from the Probation Department requiring them to attend the program at the County Courthouse.
This year, the event will also host 45 parolees from Westchester County and eight probationers from Putnam County. County Probation Officers will be assisted by officers from the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, New York State Parole and the Putnam County Probation Department.
The program will feature a variety of presenters, including two adult survivors of child sexual abuse who will share their experiences and insights on the impact of abuse as well as their stories of recovery. In addition, Keith Fadelici, assistant director of Victim's Assistance Services/WESTCOP, will share his experiences of working with victims of abuse and discuss the impact of sexual assault and trauma. He will also present a powerful video on the subject.
Assisting the Department of Probation with the program is Victims Assistance Services, a non-profit agency with a long history of providing services and support for victims in Westchester.
Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on December 29, 2014.
Elder Abuse: Domestic violence in later life
by Chelsey Perkins
T he issue of domestic violence is part of a national conversation as of late, brought to prominence by several high-profile incidents involving NFL players. It's likely most people, when thinking about the perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, picture young adults. Whether influenced by television, media or conventional wisdom, the idea that domestic violence is the province of the young is widespread.
This impression is a false one, said Trudy Gregorie, president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The incidence of domestic violence in adults 60 and older is "much more prevalent than most people suspect," she said.
Gregorie, who presented on the topic at the 2014 Minnesota TRIAD conference at Cragun's Resort last month, focused on abuse between elderly intimate partners. She and other abuse victim advocates are highlighting unique challenges faced by older adults as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October.
Elder abuse or domestic violence
"As an issue in the community and at large, (domestic abuse in older adults) is very often subsumed into the overall issue of elder abuse," Gregorie said. "It is not really seen as a separate issue that is extremely prevalent in every community in the United States."
The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person." This abuse can come in many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, sexual abuse and neglect.
In a 2009 federally funded study on elder mistreatment, 11 percent of nearly 6,000 senior respondents reported emotional, physical or sexual mistreatment or potential neglect in the previous year. Of those, 1.6 percent reported physical mistreatment, 57 percent of which was perpetrated by a partner or spouse. In another study Gregorie cited, 6 percent of 5,200 couples age 60 or older reported physical violence in their relationship in the past year.
Gregorie noted the prevalence of male victims climbs among older adults compared to the 18-35 age group. This rise in part can be attributed to dynamics of caregiving and health problems in a relationship, she said.
"The reason (this issue) needs to have attention is because of the health concerns of this age group," Gregorie said. "The risk of injuries is so much higher. An injury for someone who's 60-plus or 70-plus might mean losing their independence or even having to go into a nursing home."
Unique challenges for older domestic violence victims
Abusive relationships in later life are often complex, stemming from a variety of circumstances that require specially designed responses, said Gregorie.
In some cases, the abuse has been ongoing in a long marriage.
"If a couple has been together for 50 or 60 years, there may have been abuse in that relationship throughout those whole 50 or 60 years," she said.
In other cases, abuse might have begun recently in a long relationship, which can happen for many reasons, said Gregorie.
"Perhaps the male in the relationship has just retired and so now they're together 24/7, which brings a lot of issues into play," she said. "Sometimes it happens when one of the members of that relationship begins to develop aging health issues and may require more intense care. The other member of the relationship isn't prepared for that level of caregiving, so now there's a lot of pressures in the relationship."
New abuse can occur in relationships in which one person is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease. A common delusion for Alzheimer's patients is the belief that their spouse is cheating on them, which can lead to isolation and verbal or physical abuse.
"That can be as much with women who are suffering from dementia as men," Gregorie said. "The risks (of abuse) are still higher for older women, but the differential between males and females is much less when you get older."
Both of these scenarios can collide in one situation, she noted, when a long-time abuse victim becomes the caregiver of their abusive spouse.
"She's now in the power position when she had been the victim," Gregorie said. "So the tables can be turned, which can put an older man at risk."
New relationships in later life, becoming more common, can also lead to abuse, particularly financial exploitation. Gregorie pointed to the "sweetheart scam," where a scam artist will specifically target and seduce an older adult to gain access to their financial resources.
"Whenever I speak to younger audiences, I have to help them understand that there is an emotional, romantic and sexual life after age 60," she said. "Very often, it may be individuals that they've just met that they don't know a lot about."
Older adult victims are less likely to leave an abusive relationship or seek outside help than their younger counterparts.
"It usually comes to light because another family member, a neighbor or a professional - whether it's a justice professional or a medical professional - sees the signs," Gregorie said.
The reasons older adult victims might not report violence or leave abusive relationships are numerous and are not much different from those given by the general population: fear, hopelessness, financial concerns and embarrassment, for example. Gregorie said these reasons tend to be more pervasive in older adults.
Cultural values among older adults discourage discussing family problems and encourage marital and familial loyalty, which can make it difficult for victims to feel supported in coming forward.
"When (older adults) were growing up, domestic violence was not identified as an issue that you could talk about," she said. "Very little response would occur if you did report it."
Traditional gender roles for both men and women play a part in whether victims feel comfortable reporting abuse as well.
"If you're a female victim, you grew up in a time where women did not have the rights or the respect outside of the home that we experience today," Gregorie said. "They were in a support role for their family, which is why they would often subsume their own best interest for what they felt was best for the family."
The women of this generation, she added, often did not work outside the home and are financially reliant upon their spouse's retirement income.
Men can feel uncomfortable reporting abuse by a spouse for similar reasons.
"(There is) that same gender dynamic of being the man of the family and feeling extremely embarrassed that someone might find out that they were being abused by their wife or their intimate partner," she said.
Health issues for victims might also discourage reporting abuse. According to the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL), "Older adults may be more likely to have vision, hearing or mobility limitations that can impact safety planning or limit options to live independently." This puts older adult victims in the position of choosing between remaining in an abusive relationship or potentially giving up some independence.
Tailored resources available
Domestic violence victim advocates and those working in elder care are recognizing the need to develop specialized resources for older adult victims.
Shelters specifically designed for the needs of older adults, including considerations for mobility and medical needs as well as separation from younger victims and children, are being developed. Protocols for support groups geared toward older adult victims in long-term abuse situations are also being designed by domestic violence experts.
"The approach to support groups and providing emotional and psychological assistance needs to be designed for that dynamic as opposed to younger women," Gregorie said.
In many cases, developing age-specific resources means forming coalitions between direct service organizations that can help meet varied needs. For example, once an older adult victim has been placed in appropriate housing, the next step is to ensure access to numerous senior resources.
"Once they're settled, we're making sure to plug in other senior services in the community like Meals on Wheels, in-home health care, transportation services and other things that are already existing in the community that can help sustain an older person on their own, even if they don't have financial resources," Gregorie said.
For older adults living in rural areas, accessing these resources becomes difficult and isolation of victims is more common. Recognizing the risks for rural victims, the federal Administration for Community Living has provided funding to train people such as postal carriers, repair and installation professionals and others who have access to homes to recognize signs of domestic violence. Religious leaders are also receiving training to intervene on behalf of victims.
"They become reporters and eyes and ears for situations that no one else may know about," Gregorie said.
Supporting victims: What to do
Do you suspect an older adult in your life might be a victim of domestic violence? The first step is to find out what resources are available in the victim's community, Gregorie said. She recommends starting with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE) but also tapping local elder care organizations. You can search for resources available in your area by visiting www.eldercare.gov and entering your ZIP code. This provides connections to numerous areas of service, including housing, nutrition and legal assistance in addition to elder abuse resources.
The Senior LinkAge Line (800-333-2433) is a free hotline provided by the Minnesota Board on Aging that connects older adults with community services. Another source for Minnesotans is MinnesotaHelp.info, which is a comprehensive one-stop shop of just about any kind of resource you can imagine needing.
Once you're familiar with resources, it's time to talk to the potential victim in a one-on-one situation.
"Just talk to them," Gregorie said. "Let them know you are there to help them, to listen to them, to respect their values, their choices."
It's important, she said, to be supportive no matter what choice the older adult makes, including remaining in the relationship.
"It's letting them know you're there, you support them, there is help available for them and that you will be there for them no matter what," she said. "Building that trust level around the issue is something that's really, really important for the older victim."
Ending domestic violence for everyone
As this issue remains in the public eye, the hope of domestic violence victim advocates is more people will feel empowered to come forward, to report abuse and to prevent the violence before it ever begins. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported call volume increased by 84 percent following the release of video of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice physically abusing his wife.
NCALL's campaign this October encourages, "We can all know a world with no more abuse in later life."
Communities can collaborate to address the problem for everyone, including older adults, working toward a world with no more abuse. Period.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you suspect a loved one might be a victim, check for these signs of abuse.
• Injuries that do not match the explanation of how they occurred.
• Repeated "accidental injuries."
• Appearance of isolation.
• The potential victim says or hints they are afraid.
• Signs of depression, stress or trauma.
• Consideration or attempts of suicide by the potential victim.
• A history of alcohol or drug abuse, including prescription drugs.
• The potential victim is "difficult" or hard to get along with.
• Vague, chronic, non-specific complaints.
• Emotional and/or financial dependence on the potential abuser.
• Missed appointments.
• Delays in seeking medical help.
Based on information provided by the National Association of State Units on Aging.
Abuse resources in the Brainerd lakes area:
AccessNorth-Center for Independent Living of Northeastern Minnesota
Advocacy agencies of survivors of abuse and people with disabilities are working together to serve people who have experienced abuse.
606 Northwest Fifth St., Brainerd. 824-5228.
Advocates Against Domestic Abuse (AADA)
Provides support and advocacy to battered women, their children and victims of domestic abuse. Serves Crow Wing and Aitkin counties.
Call for location. 218-927-2327.
Crow Wing County-Victim Services, Inc.
All services are free and confidential. Crime victims can discuss their situation with an advocate and learn about options.
803 Kingwood St., No. 203, Brainerd. 828-9518.
Crow Wing County Community Services - Adult Protective Services
Adult Protective Services protect Minnesota's vulnerable adults by taking reports of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation.
204 Laurel St., Brainerd. 824-1240.
Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota-Senior Citizens Law Project
If you are 60 years of age or older and have a legal problem, project services are available to those in the most social and economic need.
324 South Fifth St., Suite A, Brainerd. 829-1701.
Mid-Minnesota Women's Center
This 24-hour emergency shelter provides a physical and emotionally safe place for adult battered women and their children free of charge. The shelter is handicapped accessible and open to women of all ages.
Call for location. 828-1216.
Information gathered from: MinnesotaHelp.info
Middlesex County leaders say ‘Enough' to child sexual abuse
WALTHAM -- The movement to prevent child sexual abuse got a significant boost as county leaders from education, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, municipalities, the faith community, private citizens and legislators came together to form the Middlesex County Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Partnership. This latest coalition joins the efforts of the Enough Abuse Campaign, a community mobilization and citizen education effort now operating in several other communities across the state.
"The powerful force created by the deep commitment and resolve of these leaders will surely outmatch those who would sexually abuse and exploit our children in the places they live and learn and play," said Jetta Bernier, whose organization MassKids directs the campaign. "By pairing the formidable energy of this group with the campaign's tested tools and strategies, we are confident that thousands of Middlesex County adults will mobilize to get educated about the issue and then take specific actions to prevent it."
State Rep. Ken Gordon, convener of the meeting and who has provided leadership on the issue on Beacon Hill, pledged his support for new legislative efforts to address the issue in the upcoming 2015 legislative session, including addressing educator sexual misconduct and abuse – a problem that according to the U.S. Department of Education is affecting 10 percent or 4.5 million school children from kindergarten to 12th grade. State Rep. Tom Stanley pledged to engage a broad range of Waltham leaders and citizens in the Middlesex County effort.
Jodi Crowley, a leader with the North Suburban and Greater Boston YMCAs, pledged to work actively on the new partnership to further meet the Y's comprehensive child protection goals.
The partnership will meet again on Nov. 14 and in the interim will work to identify and recruit volunteers to become certified Enough Abuse Campaign trainers. A two-day Training of Trainers is being planned for early December so that the full effort to educate community parents, youth and professionals can begin in earnest in early 2015, according to the partnership.
Meanwhile, legislative proposals are being drafted now that will be presented to the partnership for their review later this year in preparation for the new legislative session in January.
Partnership members expressed gratitude to the Cummings Foundation for its leadership in supporting the effort to bring the Enough Abuse Campaign to Middlesex County.
Report says child sexual exploitation ‘normal in parts of Greater Manchester'
Study by Ann Coffey MP calls for recognition of ‘real and ongoing problem' of abuse as a priority public health issue
by Helen Pidd
Sexual exploitation of vulnerable children has become the social norm in some parts of Greater Manchester, fuelled by explicit music videos and quasi-pornographic selfies, an MP has warned.
The systematic grooming of boys and girls remains a “real and ongoing problem”, a year after Greater Manchester police (GMP) was forced to admit it had failed abuse victims in Rochdale, said Ann Coffey, a former social worker who is now the Labour MP for Stockport. “My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case,” she writes in a significant report.
She said Britain needed a big change in attitudes towards child sexual exploitation similar to how perceptions of gay rights have changed over recent decades. She believes such exploitation should be declared a priority public health issue, like smoking, obesity, alcohol and drug use, so that a more strategic approach can be developed.
Coffey said police, social workers, prosecutors and juries are often inherently (albeit unconsciously) prejudiced against vulnerable teenagers – perhaps explaining why, out of 13,000 reported cases of major sexual offences against under-16s in the past six years in Greater Manchester, there have been only 1,000 convictions.
The report also suggests there is a significant underestimation of child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester: GMP figures on recorded sexual offences against under-18s between 1 June 2013 and 31 May 2014 show that only 111 cases out of 1,691 were flagged on the police computer as child exploitation.
During the eight months Coffey spent researching her report, schoolgirls, some prepubescent, told her that being harassed by older men while in their school uniform was simply “part of everyday life”. They also reported online abuse, but said it didn't bother them. “Big men will stop little girls in the road and the street. In person, it's real. But you can block it online,” said one girl.
They complained that men regularly tried to touch them or entice them into their cars, but that when police were alerted, officers told the girls: “Do not be causing trouble.” One girl told the MP: “The police have a stereotype of what we are, and we know that, so we do not go to them for help. We think: what's the point? Young people do not call the police because we know how they look down at us. We have to just focus on getting away from the guys.”
Another said: “If my house got burgled, I would go to the police; but if someone touched me, I would not go to the police because I feel it would be a waste of time.”
Coffey said she was shocked to discover that the Crown Prosecution Service threw out a child sexual exploitation case on the basis that a victim wore cropped tops. Another never went to trial after the girl's father told a social worker his daughter was a “slag” and only had herself to blame. Initially prosecutors didn't want to take the 2012 Rochdale grooming case to court because of concerns about the credibility of the witnesses.
Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the north-west, said he had written to Coffey to ask her for details of these cases. He said: “We would be extremely concerned if these comments were given as reasons for deciding not to take a case to court, but when setting out decision making it is also the duty of the prosecutor to anticipate likely angles that might be taken by the defence in their cross-examination of the victim, which could include references as it is alleged were made here.”
While welcoming the report, Afzal said it “does not recognise the leading role that the Crown Prosecution Service has played in transforming the criminal justice system's approach to child sexual abuse cases, in Greater Manchester and across the country.” He said the introduction of specialist prosecutors meant national conviction rates for child abuse are at their highest ever – 76.2%.
Coffey said teenage boys should be educated on how to treat and respect girls. Lads at Factory Zone, a youth group in Harpurhey, north Manchester, said it was becoming increasingly common for boys to “control” girls and keep them “on discipline”. A youth worker, Kemoy Walker, told Coffey: “This involves constant ringing to check what girls are doing and demanding photos to prove their whereabouts, telling them what to wear and often keeping them in the house … I find it scary and it is becoming more and more common. You can see in the girls' eyes that they are scared and are being controlled.”
But boys are also victims of sexual exploitation. Many of the young people Coffey spoke to often found themselves in risky situations, sometimes without even realising it. One boy said the man at the local chip shop was always offering him vodka, while another had been offered a pair of Vans trainers by a man. Neither initially saw the offers as part of the grooming process.
“I have been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm,” said Coffey. “They say there is no respect for girls: gangs of youths pressurising vulnerable young girls (including those with learning disabilities) for sex, and adults allowing their houses to be used for drinking, drug-taking and having sex.”
Chief Constable of Greater Manchester police Sir Peter Fahy said he welcomed the recommendations within the report and insisted specialist CSE training was already being rolled out in the force.
He said: “We want children to know that they will be believed and that we will do absolutely everything in our power to protect and help them. Knowledge and awareness around the issue of CSE has advanced a great deal in recent years but we will never be complacent, there is always more we can do to safeguard and support young people.”
Coffey added: “This social norm has perhaps been fuelled by the increased sexualisation of children and young people, involving an explosion of explicit music videos and the normalisation of quasi-pornographic images. Sexting, selfies, Instagram and the like have given rise to new social norms in changed expectations of sexual entitlement, and with it a confused understanding of what constitutes consent.
“I think we have lost the sense of what a child is. Sexual predators out there are having their quite unacceptable views confirmed through messages in the wider media: that children are just sexualised young adults.”
The report was commissioned by Tony Lloyd, the police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, following the Rochdale grooming scandal, which resulted in nine men being jailed in 2012. Last year GMP was forced to accept that some police officers held discriminatory attitudes towards vulnerable victims.
GMP currently has 260 “live” investigations into child sexual exploitation. Of these, 174 are recorded crimes and 18 of those cases involve multiple perpetrators.
On Tuesday, GMP arrested 11 people aged between 19 and 38 in a crackdown called Operation Heliodor on exploitation in the south Manchester area. They were held on suspicion of offences including sexual activity with a child, attempted indecent assault, inciting a child into prostitution, abduction and rape.
The key recommendations of the Coffey report are as follows:
• The removal of all references to “child prostitution” in legislation, because the term carries an implication of choice on the child's part.
• All responses to child sexual exploitation by statutory agencies in Greater Manchester should explicitly include “boys and young men”, to address concerns of under-reporting.
• All police response officers and community support officers should receive training about child sexual exploitation crimes.
• More information about child sexual exploitation should be given to the public generally and to those who are the “eyes and ears” of the community, including pharmacists, school crossing patrol staff, school nurses, refuse collectors, bus drivers, park attendants, housing officers, and shopkeepers, as well as taxi drivers and hoteliers.
• The building of a multimedia digital network led by young people to spearhead the fightback against sexual exploitation, including a high-profile weekly radio show produced and hosted by young people on exploitation-related issues.
• One girl, F, was born addicted to heroin and was fostered out aged eight. At 12 years old, she started smoking, drinking and taking drugs. She was getting bullied in school and so started to run away frequently, which was when she met an older man. “I lost my virginity to him, and when my foster parent found out, she said ‘Why are you being a slag?' I was 12 and he was 19. Looking back on things, it should have been the 19-year-old's behaviour that was being looked at and questioned, not the 12-year-old's.”
• One young girl with a very troubled background started going missing. She was introduced by a friend to a 44-year-old man who had a makeshift tuck shop in the back of his car and would hang around giving children cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. He sexually assaulted her and she eventually reported him, but the police and social workers were not helpful at first. Her father said he had to fight “tooth and nail” to get the police to take her complaints seriously and believes they only proceeded because his daughter had kept evidence of more than 100 texts sent by the offender.
• A 16-year-old girl who had been put in a secure unit for the fourth time described what happened when she went missing from her children's home and was approached by a man in the street who said she could go to his house and hide, where he got her drunk. “He got us wrapped round his little finger. Got us drunk and everything. And then I thought to myself, ‘I know what he's doing, he's trying to get me in bed.' I went, ‘I need to go home.' So I got my friend to ring me. So, I've put the phone on loudspeaker and my mate went, ‘Please can you come home?' I went, ‘All right then, I'll be down in two minutes.' But he wouldn't let us go. So we has to break the window and jump out of the window.”
This article was amended on 30 October 2014 to add comments from Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the north-west.
Montco child center helps 1,900 sex abuse victims over last 5 years
by Margaret Gibbons
More than 1,900 kids have passed through its doors during the past five years to gain help in dealing with their worst nightmares.
Only for these kids the nightmares are very real. They are the victims of sexual abuse.
On Wednesday, Montgomery County's first and only child advocacy center, operated by the independent, nonprofit Mission Kids, welcomed donors and supporters to celebrate the center's fifth anniversary.
“When we opened the doors of Mission Kids five years ago, we never dreamed how far we could come in such a short time,” said District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, one of the center's driving forces.
“With the support given to child victims by Mission Kids, the District Attorney's Office and law enforcement have achieved an unprecedented level of success holding child abusers accountable in court, giving the child victims a true measure of justice in court while also providing them and their families with the services they need for healing.”
Prior to the creation of the center, medical professionals, social workers, law enforcement officials and prosecutors who dealt with child abuse often worked in a vacuum.
The child would be interviewed by each group, often in institutional surroundings.
Now, trained interviewers conduct age-appropriate, open-ended interviews with the kids, eliciting information that each discipline needs to do its job but not subjecting the child to repeated interviews, according to center director Abbie Newman.
The interviews take place in child-friendly surroundings.
In addition, the center hooks the children and their families up with the mental health and medical services they may need to begin the healing process as well as any support it might need as the case moves forward in the criminal justice system.
While there have been many highlights over the past five years, Newman said the center does not intend to rest on its laurels.
For example, she wants the center to increase its outreach programs including education programs on child abuse prevention.