Putting a stop to child sexual abuse
The Marion County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and local agencies are teaming up together to help victims of child sexual abuse.
"We still feel that there are a lot of cases that aren't getting to us. There are a lot of things we could do to improve reporting so our goal is to partner with schools, partner with churches, partner with nonprofit organizations to address those issues and to provide greater support for victims of abuse," said Prosecutor Robert Peters.
Statistics show that here in the Mountain State, nearly 65% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 18 and the most frequently reported age is 15.
The Marion County Family Resource Network, along with other agencies, is working to stop the silence and stigma surrounding child sexual abuse.
"Eventually the child that's offended acts out and then it just perpetrates more and more so we are going to break that cycle of silence and shame for them we hope," said Frank Jarman, Executive Director of the Marion County Family Resource Network.
Through the new plan, they hope to identify the barriers that come with reporting abuse cases.
"We are going to try to bring some light and hopefully get them the help that they need and as well as the perpetrator," said Jarman.
"There's a number of high profile cases that have occurred recently and there is many more that the public will never know about. It's a tremendous issue and it impacts us at all levels," said Peters.
The Marion County Family Resource Network also plans to start a new program called the Buddy Box. Students will be able to write down their concerns and slip them inside of a private box. The school counselor will then receive the slips and report the concerns to the appropriate agency.