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April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. At Safe Horizon, every day is one in which we work to give abused children the help, healing, and justice they deserve. Thanks to our staff and thanks to our partners at our Child Advocacy Centers, more than 4,000 children receive expert care and attention.
One of those children we helped was Liam. Liam was just six years old when his stepbrother sexually abused him, but it took three years for him to finally find the courage to tell his parents. Thankfully his parents believed him, and they reported the abuse. That’s when Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers stepped in to help.
Our Centers are special because they are designed to help abused children find both healing and justice after crisis. Liam and his family came to a child-friendly, inviting place where all the services they would need – from law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, doctors for medical exams, to our own expert interviewers who help children talk about the abuse – were already there. These professionals work as a team at our Centers to investigate abuse. Because they do, Liam only needed to tell his story once for all of them to hear it. Once he told the investigative team what his stepbrother had done, the police went to arrest his stepbrother.
The abuse had, however, left a harsh impact on Liam. He needed help to deal with the trauma, and Safe Horizon's own clinical experts were there to give Liam and his family counseling support. Though Liam’s parents agreed to attend the sessions, their conflict between supporting him and supporting his stepbrother had begun to take a toll on Liam. The little boy refused to go to any more sessions with his parents.
Our experts worked with Liam’s parents to make them see how their problems were distracting them from the reason why they had come to our Centers – to help Liam. Once they realized this, they were able to refocus on their child, and Liam rejoined them for family sessions. Liam finally began recovering from the abuse, and he and his family continue to heal together.
Liam and his parents received the help they needed thanks to our partners, and thanks to our supporters, who care about abused children and who share in our efforts to give each child we serve support and comfort.
* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.