Child Advocacy Center Opens Doors for Victims

By: Cheryn Stone Email
By: Cheryn Stone Email

October 17, 2007

A Child Advocacy Center in Charlottesville says they can better respond to child abuse victims. They say they're better equipped at a new facility in the city.

Wednesday night, the Foothills Child Advocacy Center opened their doors to the public. They were celebrating their new location off 10th Street in Charlottesville.

The staff says, it's a win-win situation. Children are better served and law enforcement may get better outcomes in cases of child abuse.

When you walk in the center, you'll see bright rooms, toys; an area designed to be a safe place for kids.

Sara Dansey is project director at the Foothills Child Advocacy Center. She says the purpose of the center is to have a child friendly space for victims of child abuse to be interviewed.

Before the center, victims in Charlottesville and Albemarle had to visit as many as 13 agencies.

"What was going on before was the children were being interviewed over and over again by Child Protection Services, by Police Detectives, by the Commonwealth Attorney," Program Coordinator Jennifer Kline says.

Ruth Stone, Executive Director at Piedmont CASA says, "Many of these cases are very uncomfortable for children to talk about and to have to tell people these very personal experiences that were traumatic, is very difficult for children."

At the center, someone with specialized training interviews children once. The interview is recorded, so the child should only have to do it one time.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elizabeth Killeen says, "We've been very happy to have the Foothills Child Advocacy Center; it’s just a wonderful resource to be able to have good investigations in child abuse cases."

The staff at the center hopes to help investigations move forward, all while helping reduce the trauma for victims of child abuse.

The center recently became a non-profit organization. The staff says they need volunteers and donations to keep the center running.

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