Children's advocacy center helps prevent sexual abuse - WNEM TV 5

Children's advocacy center helps prevent sexual abuse

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It's easier to prevent children from being abused than to help them once they've been harmed.

Preventing abuse of children and healing their wounds from predators is the work of the Weiss Child Advocacy Center.

From ages 2 to 18 victims come to the center. The center saw 400 people last year.

Executive director Claudnyse Jenkins said sometimes it take its toll, even on her.

"We see the kids and they're crying and we want to cry with them and we see how devastated and how shaken up they are by the traumatic events they've been through," Jenkins said.

Workers interview victims and gather evidence for investigators. They also advocate for the children, to protect, restore and heal.

"It's really important for us as adults to understand that children are already nervous about it. They don't understand what happened and then you have perpetrators that are telling kids no one's gonna believe you," Jenkins said.

Jean Douglas and Matt Graham are the proactive pair at giving talks, teaching lessons and preparing parents or guardians to prevent the harm before it happens.

"You always need to really know the people that your children are with. You need to start early with talking to your children about their body, know your body, know your body parts and the correct terms for them," Douglas said.

There are two important tips for preventing child sexual abuse. The first is never be impressed by a title or a family relationship. A teacher, pastor, or close relative could be a danger to your child. Ninety-six out of every 100 victims knows their attacker.

The second tip is to talk to your children early and often to make sure they know what is inappropriate behavior.

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