Crime victim advocates are launching a new program aimed at reducing the number of children who are sexually abused in our area.
The Crime Victims Assistance Center was selected as one of 3 pilot sites in New York State to introduce a campaign started in Massachusetts called Enough Abuse. The goal is to teach parents and childcare professionals what signs to look for in such cases. In particular, the effort focuses on the practice of grooming, in which a pedophile gains the trust of a victim and his or her family before beginning the abuse.
C-VAC Executive Director Raini Baudendistel, says there were 300 cases of child sexual abuse in Broome County last year alone. Baudendistel says, "We want to continue with the children, but we want to bring in parents and those professional people that work with children to sort of close that loophole a little bit and really start the conversations about how to keep our kids safe and step away from the tabooness of discussing it because we can't fix it if we don't talk about it."
The center is partnering with Child Abuse New York and the state of Massachusetts to introduce the project with the hope of taking it statewide in the future.