A child who is the victim of sexual abuse often has to relive that abuse by re-telling the details as the case goes through the judicial system. With the help of the Center for Safe & Healthy Children, however, those children will only have to tell the details once in a safe, supportive environment.
Family members and the child are also able to take advantage of counseling and other services in one familiar place at 1900 Chapel Dr. An average of 100 children in Hancock County receive help every year, said Pam Lather, a court reporter and president of the center’s board of directors.
“Under the old system, if a child disclosed abuse there were certain people they had to talk to in order to prosecute,” Lather said. “They get tired and they don’t want to talk about it.”
Children are interviewed about the abuse at the center. The trained interviewer records the session and other professionals– including prosecutors and counselors– view the recording in order to aid prosecution. This eliminates the child having to tell the details over and over.
“That has lifted a tremendous burden off these kids,” said Lather. “We’re talking 6-7-8-year olds.”
The Center for Safe & Healthy Children relies on funding and donations, and is planning its next fundraiser– Purse Bingo– on March 11. Due to confidentiality the center cannot accommodate volunteers, but staff members are available to speak to groups about its mission.
Those interested in scheduling a speaker or learning
about how to donate can call 419-425-1475
or visit hancocksafechildren.com.