By Adam C. Rosenberg.
Countless numbers of children are sexually abused every day in Maryland. With children knowing who 90% of their abusers are (it’s not the boogie man, but unfortunately trusted adults) many are understandably too afraid to report what happened to them. When one of these children is brave enough to come forward it can potentially save dozens of other children from being abused. Yet all too often when those kids come forward our system interrogates and questions them over 10 times making prosecution and conviction even more difficult.
But a remedy exists to reduce the trauma, investigative time, and cost to every jurisdiction. Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) have for over 20 years provided children and families with a warm, friendly, single location, to report what happened to the entire investigative team and then get help. These procedures have reduced the time for an investigation from 15 to 30 days to 2 days, and sometimes in as little as 2 hours. This joint approach also saved a municipality significant funds – as much as a 57% savings.
CACs don’t exist in every county in Maryland, and currently have no state requirement to be used by investigative agencies. However, with great thanks to Delegate Norm Conway and Senator Mac Middleton that can all be changed for Maryland’s children. Tell your Delegate or Senator that you want them to support HB 1043 / SB 796 which will establish and sustain CACs throughout the State.
Now, take action.
* Visit these websites and Facebook pages to show your support and learn more as to what you can do:
* Find out who your representative is and who your center’s representative is. http://mdelect.net/electedofficials/
* Write your reps – copy and paste the text below and send it off to your delegates.
Dear ,Children shouldn’t have to be sexually abused – furthermore, Maryland should act to provide all children with safe spaces to tell what happened to them and qualified professionals who will listen and act.
I am writing in support of HB 1043 / SB 796 to require the Department of Human Resources and the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to establish and sustain Child Advocacy Centers in Maryland. The work done by CACs nationwide has had a proven impact on the effectiveness of reporting and prosecuting incidences of child sexual abuse. This legislation will provide law enforcement, child protection services, social workers, and all who work to protect Maryland's children with the resources to more efficiently serve victims of child sexual abuse and those at risk. SB 796/HB 1043 is an opportunity for Maryland to become invested in the safety and well being of our children, and I thank you for your support in passing this important legislation.
Email Arosenberg@bcaci.org to learn more or to find out what else you can do.
Adam C. Rosenberg is the Executive Director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Maryland’s oldest Children’s Advocacy Center that helps over 1000 children a year who have reported being sexually abused.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
By Adam C. Rosenberg.