The Dayton Rotary Club had the opportunity to learn more about April’s Child Abuse month as Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center staff attended their meeting. Rotary President Rachel Ansley introduced Alyssa Thomas to the club. Thomas did the presentation and gave some sobering statistics. “About 62% of the children who are victims delay or never disclose child sexual abuse to friends, family, and/or authorities. Sadly, 90% of sexual abuse victims know their abuser. Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday,” stated Ms. Thomas. Bridgehaven offers many services, is a community outreach, and provides training to increase awareness along with hoping to prevent child abuse and neglect. Other services that are offered include joint investigation with law enforcement (and other agencies), forensic interview, family advocacy and victim support, trauma-focused therapy, medical evaluations and multi-disciplinary case review. Alyssa Thomas stated, “We love to keep our children safe. Therefore, we offer free presentations and training with such topics as child abuse& prevention, child personal safety, teen dating violence, internet safety, preventing child mortality and bullying.” The Dayton Bridgehaven group works with not only Liberty County and Chambers County but also assists other counties. Last year, they conducted 286 forensic interviews- 59.8% were from Liberty County, 29% from Chambers County and 11.2% as courtesy interviews for other counties. The services provided by Bridehaven are offered free of charge to residents of Chambers and Liberty counties through public and private donations and grants.
President Ansley recognized the Assistant Governor, Ernestine Belt from the Cleveland Rotary Club who was here to visit with incoming President Ann Maria Mitchell. At the end of the meeting, President Ansley led the club in the 4-Way Test.