MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A local community organization helping physically and sexually abused youth recognized key support agencies during a ceremony in Jacksonville, N.C., June 7.
The Child Advocacy Center of Onslow County is a one-stop facility where children can receive medical evaluations and be interviewed in a friendly atmosphere.
Law enforcement agencies and child protection services refer and evaluate children at the facility with experts of various disciplines who gather as much information and evidence as possible while minimizing the amount of stress placed on a child.
The center recognized the Department of Social Services, Onslow County’s Sheriff’s Office, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Jacksonville Police Department, Onslow County District Attorney’s Office and the Guns-and-Hoses Committee during the ceremony.
Representatives from each of the agencies received plaques to commemorate their partnership with the agency.
“We could not do our jobs without one another,” said Kathleen Holbrook, the director of the Child Advocacy Center. “We are intertwined.”
Holbrook said while the organizations rely upon one another, each look through their own unique lens to serve the same goals: protecting youth and prosecuting offenders.
Base officials were in attendance including Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry, Marine Corps Installations-East Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune commanding general, Capt. David Lane, the commanding officer of Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and other members of their staff.
Gorry spoke to the guests and those honored, thanking them for their continued efforts in assuring the safety of children.
“It takes a multi-faceted approach that includes law enforcement, medical personnel, concerned parents and trained professionals to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves,” said Gorry.
Physicians with specialized training provide comprehensive medical exams and trained interviewers have one-on-one conversations with victims, which can be viewed remotely by a team investigating the case, lessening the traumatic retelling of a victim’s story.
The center also gathers information about local child abuse trends.
Since its inception in August of 2010, the center assisted more than 600 children and teenagers in the community. Most of the children seen at the center, 41 percent, are less than 5 years old. Children between the ages of six and 12 make up 37 percent of their clients, and children between 13 and 18 years old make up 22 percent.
Seventy-six percent, are victims of sexual abuse. Eighteen percent of children are victims of physical abuse.
Elected officials such as Sen. Harry Brown, Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips, Onslow County Commissioner Lionel Midgett, and Onslow County Sherriff Ed Brown were also in attendance to honor the organizations.
The event was a way for the Child Advocacy Center of Onslow County and other entities to recognize the local groups that help children cope during a traumatic situation and apprehend those who abuse and exploit them.
The center has only been opened a few years, and in that time it has assisted in nearly a hundred trials.
Those honored received wooden plaques highlighting their contributions.
For more information call 353-5000 or visit onslowkids.org/child-advocacy-center.php.