Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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April 8, 2005

CAC Raises Funds to Help Victims of Child Abuse

FULTON – Last year over 100 child abuse victims received services from the Oswego County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at 370 S. Fourth St. The center provides a safe and child-friendly place for investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse in Oswego County.

The center is run by a non-profit charitable organization that works to protect and serve child victims of sexual and physical abuse. A multidisciplinary team provides a variety of services to victims and their families. The team is comprised of several community agencies, including prosecution, law enforcement, child protective services, medical providers, therapeutic professionals, and victim support advocates.

Services are free to all child victims and their families in Oswego County.

Children are interviewed in a specially designed room that allows members of law enforcement and other professionals to observe without being intrusive. A separate therapy room provides a secure and warm environment for children receiving assessment and post-event psychotherapy.

The center is conducting a public awareness and fundraising campaign during the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“The Oswego County Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit agency that works closely with law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, treatment providers and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve the child victims of sexual and physical abuse,” said County Legislature Chairman Russ Johnson. “I encourage the citizens of Oswego County to support the efforts of the CAC and its partners in the prevention of child abuse.”

“As a non-profit agency we are dependent on the generosity of our community to continue to provide free services to abused children,” said Olivia VanSanford, CAC director. “It is our hope that this campaign will not only raise funds for the center, but will raise community awareness about child abuse in Oswego County.”

The April campaign is signified nationally by a blue ribbon. Several local businesses are selling blue ribbon cutout cards, teddy bears, and lapel pins to support the CAC.

Participating businesses include Fitzgibbons Insurance Agency, Harbor Towne Gifts, Ruth E.’s Diner, Grace’s Market, Mirabito’s Big M, Jreck Subs, Sweet Inspirations, Oswego County National Bank, Cam’s Pizzeria, and Struppler’s Big M. Organizations that made donations to the CAC during April include P & C Foods, Fulton Savings Bank, Design Accents, and Balloons ala Carte. Volunteers will visit P & C stores in Oswego County from 9 a.m. to noon April 23 to distribute informational materials.

The center is asking area churches to support the campaign by holding a special collection during the month of April.

“It is so important that our community is aware of the existence of child abuse and its effects on the children,” said Stacy Austin, therapist at the CAC. “We need to raise public awareness on this issue as well as educate the community about the services that are currently available to these children.”

The public awareness campaign will conclude with a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at the pavilion at Bullhead Point on Route 3. All of the community is encouraged to attend. Scheduled to speak are a family affected by child abuse, Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd, and other guests.

Denise Perkins, victim services coordinator at the CAC, said the vigil is an opportunity for the community to take a stand against child abuse. “This is a great way to break the silence that so often surrounds child abuse, and for the community to show its support,” she said.

If you would like to make a donation to the CAC or wish to support the campaign, call the center at 59-CHILD (592-4453).

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