The 19th Annual Child Abuse Awareness Month Kick-off Breakfast to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center for Hampshire County is this Friday morning, April 6, at Hadley Farms Meeting House, 41 Russell Street in Hadley, from 7:30-9 a.m. (See agenda below). More than 200 people are expected to attend the sold out event.
This year’s keynote speaker is Lisa Fontes, a senior lecturer at the University Without Walls of the University of Massachusetts and a national expert on child abuse and violence against women . She trains criminal justice, social work, and psychology professionals in Chile, Puerto Rico, and Guyana, as well as the U.S. and has worked as a psychotherapist.
The Children’s Advocacy Center is a welcoming, child-friendly house where children who may be victims of physical and sexual abuse, and their families, can receive many of the services they need during the criminal investigative process, all under one roof. The trustees of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School and Cooley Dickinson Hospital partnered with the Northwestern Children's Advocacy Project to provide a house equipped with a medical suite and local artists have painted beautiful murals on the walls.
In 2017, 407 cases were referred to the CAU for investigation, involving 551 victims, which resulted in 204 offenders being charged with offenses against children. Some 201 child victims were interviewed at the Children Advocacy Centers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties
At the CAC, children who are suspected of being the victims of physical and sexual abuse are interviewed in a coordinated interview process, outside of a police station, to reduce the number of times a child victim has to speak with investigators. The child may be medically examined at the CAC by trained medical providers outside of a hospital Emergency Room to minimize the trauma he or she experiences. Referrals for follow-up medical and mental health services are also available.
“We are able to change children’s lives every day because the community supports our work,” CAC Director Susan Loehn said.
For more information, contact CAC Director Susan Loehn at Susan.J.Loehn@state.ma.us
See you at the Breakfast!