Sue started by giving some very shocking statistics: 1 in 10 children are sexually abused, in 90% of the cases the family knew and trusted the abuser and were abused before the age of 18, about 35% of victims are 13 years of age or younger, 30% of children are sexually abused by family members, nearly 40% of children are abused by older children, and all children are at risk of abuse.
Sue then spoke of the fine work planned by the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) located on Broad Street across the street from Frosty Boy. The center, Sue said, is a kid-friendly center thanks to a collaboration of the Prosecutor’s office and many other individuals and organizations in response to children who have been sexually abused here in Lenawee County as well as those who have been physically abused or witnessed violet crimes. The interview room will be able to videotape all interviews so that the defense team can show courts how serious each offense was. One way glass will separate the interview room where generally the prosecutor will be from the room where the forensic expert will be watching as the stories unfold. The two parties will be connected with ear buds so that the proper questions can be asked.
Children who have been abused will come to the CAC and interviewed one time by a trained forensic interviewer who will try and get as many details as possible as to what happened to them. Without a CAC in the past, abused children unfortunately had to tell their story over and over again and relive the trauma they’d experienced. With a CAC, it happens only once and in a non-threatening, kid-friendly environment so they can get the therapeutic intervention they need.
Prosecuting Attorney Burke then spoke and told the audience that this community is very lucky to have a person like Sue dealing with this issue and forming a task force to deal with this problem. He went over the former process when abuses like these were reported and said that the CAC model is a far better process for the children. The old process increased the possibility of children telling different stories and not being able to tell whether or not they were even telling the truth!
Sue thanked the club for their involvement particularly with the joint grant with the Adrian AM Club approved by our board just recently in the amount of $5,000. The Adrian AM Club has been very involved and have been doing remodeling work at the site already. See photo of AM Club at the site (L to R: Jean, Bob, Dave, Jim and Bill).