JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - The Child Advocacy Center of Onslow County welcomed those from the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, Jacksonville Police Department, Onslow County Sheriff's Office, Onslow County Department of Social Services and Onslow County District Attorney's Office for their support of helping children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse.
Senator Harry Brown, Brigadier Gen. Thomas Gorry from Marine Corps Installations East, and Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips also attended.
Kathleen Holbrook, the center's director, says the center has seen more than 200 children each year for the past three years it's been open. She says 82 percent of the children seen have been sexually abused. Some have been both physically and sexually abused.
The center partners with local law enforcement to conduct medical examinations and interviews with the children and families.
"The goal is to reduce the trauma to the children by bringing everybody together under one roof, so that the child only has to go through it one time," Holbrook said.
Interview Specialist Beth Pogroszewski says a team of advocates and detectives in another room and can watch interviews. This process puts less stress on the child and gives officials evidence they need, all at once.
"Sometimes I think when kids are interviewed too many times, they begin to think that people don't believe them or do not believe what's happened to them, so it's important to really minimize that and start the process of healing," Pogroszewski said.
Holbrook adds that in most of her cases, perpetrators take a plea deal, meaning the child can avoid testifying in court and begin a life free of abuse.
Here's the center's mission:
"The Child Advocacy Center of Onslow County (CAC) is a program of the Onslow County Partnership for Children. The CAC's mission is to champion the needs of sexually and severely physically abused children through prevention, intervention, therapy and collaboration. Each day a team of law enforcement, child protective services, advocates, medical providers and the District Attorney's Office provide families safety, support and the resources they needs to begin to heal."
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