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Friday, 09 August 2013 10:52

Sanilac County working toward Child Advocacy Center

(SANILAC COUNTY) -- According to national statistics 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 4 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. Due to the growing number of alleged sexual abuse cases in Sanilac County, several agencies are working toward the establishment of a Child Advocacy Center. In 2012, the Sanilac County Department of Human Services investigated 500 cases of child abuse and neglect. 325 of those cases were considered substantiated by DHS and 100 of the 325 were alleged sexual abuse investigations. According to Director of the Sanilac County Health Department and Vice-Chair of the new Child Advocacy Center, Dianna Schafer, victims of severe physical abuse or sexual abuse are now taken out of the county for a forensic interview and medical exam, creating a financial hardship on local resources and emotional hardships for the victims. Child Advocacy Centers promote a safe, confidential, neutral and effective environment where children of sexual abuse or severe physical abuse can receive medical, emotional, legal, investigative and advocacy services all in one location. The Center in Sanilac County will be located in the Health Department Building in Sandusky. The project is being made possible through a dedicated Board of Directors Chaired by Prosecutor James Young, members of the Sanilac County Child Abuse Prevention Council, EVA's Place Shelter, the Sanilac County Sheriff's Office, Port Sanilac Public Safety, the Sandusky Police Department, MSU Extension, the Prosecutor and Magistrate Offices, the Kids' Connection, and several other county agencies and representatives. The organizational process is underway. At this time, the center is not eligible to receive funding from the National Children's Alliance and donations are being accepted to help pay for the forensic interviewer, a closed circuit court camera system, office and medical supplies, training fees, and the accreditation fee. The Center's first donation in the amount of $1,250 was provided by the Sandusky Kiwanis. Those wishing to learn more about the Child Advocacy Center or ways to help with fundraising or volunteering are asked to contact Dianna Schafer at 810-648-4095 or email schaferd-at-sanilachealth.com