advocacy group aiming to limit the trauma experienced by child
victims of sexual abuse is a lease away from being established
in Albany County.
Advocacy Center of Albany County recently received several
grants from state and local agencies that will enable it to
hire and train staff, buy medical equipment and—perhaps most
important, at this stage—find a place to call home. Now that
the center is funded, it has begun to actively search for
centrally located office space and is projecting a start-up
date in mid-fall.
mission is to centralize the procedures that necessarily follow
a report of child sexual abuse, to help ease the suffering
of both the victims and their families. “We want to consolidate
the process to make it much less difficult for families facing
sexual abuse to deal with the trauma around it,” said Betsy
Gorman, director of public relations for the nonprofit St.
Anne Institute, the lead agency in the development of the
Child Advocacy Center.
Anne Institute applied for and received grants from the New
York State Crime Victims Bureau, the New York State Office
of Child and Family Services and the Community Foundation
of the Capital Region.
Advocacy Center of Albany County is one of many similar projects
established recently throughout the country with the goal
of streamlining interaction among victims, nonoffending family
members, and professionals. The necessary interviews by agencies
such as Child Protective Services, law-enforcement personnel
and physicians would be conducted in a comfortable setting
within the center, rather than through a series of courtroom
and office visits.
of one person after another doing interviews, it will all
be done under one roof,” said Suzanne Tolomeo, the center’s
acting executive director. “Not only will the process be speedier,
but it can increase the prosecution in many cases.”
all the center has to do is settle on a location.
is anxious for this to happen,” Gorman said. “We just need
to make some progress in finding a location.”