April 03, 2005
Gingerbread House recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month
April 3, 2005
Over 140 new cases of Child Abuse were reported to the Gingerbread House children's advocacy center last year. "Children in our community are being victimized and robbed of their childhood," said John Wyckoff, agency executive director. "We have an obligation as a community to recognize and deal with this perpetuating cycle of abuse." This is one reason that the Gingerbread House children's advocacy center is joining in the recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.
The number of reported child abuse cases is only increasing as 92 cases have been seen at the Gingerbread House through the first half of the fiscal year 2004-2005 for the center.
The Gingerbread House which conducts forensic interviews of the child victims of sexual and/or serious physical abuse. Of these 92 cases, 80 involved sexual abuse and 12 involved serious physical abuse. Last year Gingerbread House interviewed a total of 132 cases.
Gingerbread House children's advocacy center is joining in the recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.
Gingerbread House has multi-disciplinary team members including representatives from Child Protective Services, every law enforcement agency in Ellis County and the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office. This team provides a coordinated effort in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases.
Utilizing a child-friendly environment for the child victims and their non-offending family members, the Gingerbread House has a trained interviewer on staff to talk with the child as team members watch via a closed-circuit video setup. This prevents further trauma to the child by reducing the number of times the child must tell his or her story.
"Try to imagine being a 6-year-old female child having to tell your story of how you were sexually assault and how you had trusted this person," Wyckoff said. "And because of this coordinated team effort and the support we provide to these children and their families, imagine this same child asking as she leaves the Gingerbread House, 'Can I come back next week and play again?'
By bringing this team of professionals together the center is able to minimize the number of times children must tell their story. The center's goal is to break the cycle of abuse one child at a time.
During Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month (April), the Gingerbread House will hold its annual open house from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, at its offices, 820 Ferris Ave., Suite 230 in effort to intensify public awareness of the growing concern about child abuse.
The Gingerbread House opened its doors in December 1999. And the Gingerbread House expects to purchase land soon on which to construct its own facility - which will further continue its mission.
Their goal is to be in their own building in 2006 and will be starting a capital campaign in the near future towards that goal.
Gingerbread House is one of 59 centers throughout the state. Each center is a member of Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas, a nonprofit, state association that promotes and supports the development of local centers.
You can contact Gingerbread House at (972) 937-1870
Posted by Nancy at April 3, 2005 12:36 AM