Helping Child Abuse VictimsThe month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and one local organization works year-round to help put an end to the abuse.
Reported by Alex Batres.
Over three million reports of child abuse are made every year in the US. In Natrona County, the Department of Family Services receives over thirty reports of child abuse and neglect every month. The Children's Advocacy Project in Casper works with DFS and other area agencies to help end child abuse in Natrona County.
“We work closely with law enforcement, the District Attorney's office and ourselves in working child abuse investigation”, said Heather Ross, Director of the Children's Advocacy Project center.
After years of silence, Amber's daughter revealed that she had been sexually abused by her step-father for five years
“Initially I had to ask her to repeat herself because I was in shock, you go did they really say that and she just started crying”, said Amber.
After finding out about the abuse, Amber sought help for her daughter at the Children's Advocacy Project center.
“It was all very timely and very well orchestrated and the offering of counseling and making sure that she and I were comfortable coming here”.
About eighty-five to ninety-percent of cases reviewed by the center are child sexual assault cases.
“We know that there's probably a lot more cases out there that we are not aware of so thats why we educate community on signs and how to report”, said Ross.
Looking back, Amber says some of the missed signs were clear.
“My husband not coming to bed with me was one of the things that was a its a nightly occurrence”, said Amber.
Last year, the center completed 198 forensic interviews and served 123 children. They were largely responsible for putting the man who molested Amber's daughter behind bars.
“He is currently serving twelve to seventeen years on two counts of sexual abuse”, said Amber.
The center also provided Amber's daughter with counseling to begin the healing process.
“She really likes her counselor she gets upset if she misses her appointment”.
To date, the center has served 1,674 clients and conducted 1,231 interviews.
The center will be holding their 5th annual "Shoot Trap" fundraiser on May 14th. To register call 307-232-0160. For more information about the Children's Advocacy Project, visit:www.childrensadvocacyproject.org