It’s about time.
Mount Nittany Health and Mount Nittany Medical Center have announced they will be funding the construction of the Children’s Advocacy Center for Centre Country.
Instead of having to go independently to different services, children who have been abused will be able to meet with the professionals in one centralized location. In this center, children who have been abused will be able to tell their story in one interview rather than to each professional that they go to, which will dramatically reduce the amount of trauma that the children experience.
In addition to legal services, the center will be a central location for children to receive therapy and medical services.
The idea for a center such as this is not new in Centre County, but it received a push after the child sexual abuse charges against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky were made public.
A center like this is a valuable response to the case, which will help to make sure, as prosecutors said during Sandusky’s trial, a predator does not roam free in Centre County again.
During the Sandusky trial, it became increasingly obvious how difficult it is for those who have been abused to recount the story on multiple occasions. Defense attorney Joe Amendola would make men who were abused take the stand and grill them for hours, searching for some sort of discrepancy in their stories from what they have said in the past.
Child advocacy experts have said countless times that revisiting these incidents several times is traumatizing for anyone who has been sexually abused. It is great that one aspect of this center is ensuring that children only have to tell their story once, in a comfortable environment, rather than over an over to 10 strangers.
Any move that can be made to limit the apparent stress on a child is a good one.
This isn’t a problem that is limited to Centre County, but not all counties in Pennsylvania have a child advocacy center.
In fact, only 21 of the state’s 67 counties have one, so Centre County’s will open its doors to surrounding counties.
The state should devote more resources, including reallocating existing funds and using the $15 million that the NCAA has said will remain in Pennsylvania, to funding centers such as this that will help fight sexual abuse.