Local Agencies Sign Agreement to Address Child Abuse
Bivona Child Advocacy Center is recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month with an annual memorandum of understanding.
The agreement was signed by local law enforcement and other partner agencies who work together to investigate child abuse cases and treat the victims.
Bivona executive director Mary Whittier says her agency has evaluated more than 12,600 children since it opened in 2004. She says one in ten kids will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18. And most of the time, the perpetrator is someone the child knows, loves and trusts.
"So we as parents need to say, 'Even if it's Uncle Joe or your coach or your neighbor or your babysitter, no one, no one has the right to touch you in a place that's not okay, that makes you feel uncomfortable. No one."
Bivona is now offering treatment and services to children who have witnessed violent crimes.
"Just like a seven-year-old who has been sexually abused shouldn't go to a police station, a seven-year-old who has just witnessed a violent crime shouldn't have to go to a police station for hours and be questioned,"Whittier said.
Bivona coordinates treatment and services for child abuse victims in one place so they don't have to visit multiple agencies to re-tell their story.