WV CAN Climb – For Young Victims of Abuse and Their Advocates
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Organizers and families they have helped are calling on everyone to support the state's Child Advocacy Network with a fundraising hike this week. Comments from Amy Landers, whose son was a victim of sexual assault and was helped by the Child Advocacy Center in Charleston. Graphics related to the event available.
The families helped by the state's Child Advocacy Network are calling on everyone to pull up their boots and support WV CAN Climb this week.
The WV CAN Climb is next Saturday at 10 sites around the state. Amy Landers will be at the fundraising hike at the Kanawha State Forest because the Child Advocacy Center in Charleston helped her son who was sexually assaulted by a friend of the family when he was eight years old. Landers says the child advocates help victims get through what is a pretty horrible process. She says everyone should support their important work.
"Helping agencies like this creates a safer West Virginia, because it allows children to be heard," Landers says.
According to Prevent Child Abuse America, one-in-10 children will be sexually assaulted by the time they turn 18. Last year the state child advocates helped more than 2,600 kids.
Child Advocacy Centers were set up to have trained therapists interview young victims of abuse and record their statements rather than making them repeat their stories over and over. Landers says even when police try to be sensitive, they're not really trained for that kind of work. She says when a victim has to go though multiple interviews, it can feel like they're being victimized all over again.
"When you have that collaboration of all of the different agencies and that trained therapist, the child feels more at ease," says Landers. "Trained staff know how to work with the children and make them feel heard and loved."
Landers says her son is 19 now, in college and doing well. But she says he still has nightmares. "It never gets easy, but it does get easier."