From Torture to Triumph: Children from Sierra Leone
In 2002, The Safe Horizon Staten Island Child Advocacy Center worked with wounded children from Sierra Leone. The Center Director received a call from a community member who is part of a movement, Gift of Limbs, that is providing help and assistance to the wounded amputee children from Sierra Leone. The children have been fitted with prosthetics to enable mobility and better functioning. After spending three months in an apartment donated by Staten Island University Hospital, the children began to disclose accounts of sexual abuse. The hospital recommended that the children be brought to the SICAC since part of the torture they experienced included sexual abuse.
The children attended regular individual and group counseling sessions at the Center. Under the umbrella of the SICAC, the children's needs were met, while the Rotarians, who helped to get them here, were assisted in creating a treatment plan that addresses housing, schooling, acculturation and assimilation, medical and mental health provisions. Through the strength of this collaboration the needs of all the primary and secondary victims were addressed. The SICAC director is pleased to report that the SICAC has become a safe haven for this group of children.