CAC receives $1M grant to render services to young sexual assault victims

The Orange County Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) has been awarded a grant of nearly $1 million to help close gaps in existing services to young sexual assault victims.

Over a period of three years, the CAC, which is part of the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, will receive $992,255 from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) for the development of prevention, education, advocacy, and treatment services.

The grant focuses on child victims of sexual assault ages 3 years to 17 years and their non-offending caregivers.

Several community agencies will partner to implement the OVW grant funding in developing comprehensive services to children and youth who are victims of sexual assault.

"Our community has established a good foundation for identifying and responding to cases of child sexual abuse," says Michelle Ball, program manager for the CAC. "This grant will help us develop a well-rounded community approach that includes everything from prevention to treatment."

The new grant will allow the CAC and partnering agencies to develop a number of initiatives to ensure young victims and their non-offending caregivers are receiving a full spectrum of treatment and support. Some of the initiatives include:
•Child sexual assault prevention training, information, and general awareness for children and youth in Orange County
•Development of an online training curriculum for community agencies working directly with youth that provides information on general signs and symptoms of sexual abuse and the process that should be followed when a child discloses abuse
•Training on effective ways to intervene for the professionals involved when a child discloses sexual abuse
•Training for professionals who work with children/youth who have been sexually abused on how to respond to behaviors caused by trauma
•Development of an emergency crisis system that allows child victims and their families to obtain assistance with housing and other basic needs
•Access to a child advocate for support from the point of initial investigation through prosecution
•Access to trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

Partner agencies include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, the Central Florida Urban League, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Orange County Public Schools, Orange County Sheriff's Office, and Orlando Police Department. Each organization will play a critical role in developing the components funded by this grant.

"We're excited to have the opportunity to further collaborate with these community partners," said Ball. "With this partnership, we'll be able to transform Orange County into a community where the general public serves as the eyes and ears that help protect children from abuse, and offer a full range of services to fulfill victims' needs."

Source:

 Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families

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