Erie County DA announces the ‘Enough Abuse’ campaign to combat child sex abuse
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that Erie County has become the sixth county in New York State to launch the Enough Abuse Campaign.
Today, DA Flynn was joined by Rosanne Johnson, Chief of the DA’s Special Victims Bureau, Rebecca Stevens, Director of the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center, Jessica Pirro, CEO of Crisis Services, and Lt. David Mann of the Buffalo Police Department Sex Offense Unit, Marni Bogart, Director of Legal Affairs for Erie County Dept. of Social Services, Laurie Syms, Outreach and Education Coordinator at Best Self Behavioral Health, Sharon Rochelle, First Deputy Commissioner of Social Services, and Jessica Ceniccola, CPS Worker & Trainer for Enough Abuse Campaign to announce the community-wide initiative.
Under the umbrella of “Prevent Child Abuse New York,” the Enough Abuse Campaign aims to educate members of the community and to develop new strategies to prevent child sexual abuse before it ever happens.
The Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center was approved as the host agency in Erie County. Along with their partner agencies, free educational training will be provided to parents, educators, students, therapists, social workers, child protection workers, public health officials, faith-based institutions and law enforcement. Trainers will educate anyone over the age of 12 with facts on child sexual abuse and steps every person and organization can take to prevent it.
Erie County has the second highest number of cases of child abuse in New York State with approximately 9,000 cases reported per year. In 2017, the Child Advocacy Center assisted nearly 1,100 child victims.
These numbers represent a small fraction of the actual cases of abuse, most of which are never reported. It is estimated that 90 percent of child sex abuse cases are unreported. Through the campaign, adults will be educated on how to identify and react appropriately to incidents of abuse.
“We need to stop being silent about crimes committed against children. Our community needs to be proactive in educating the public on how to identify these potential predators before a crime is even committed. If an abuse towards a child does occur, the crime needs to be reported immediately in order for these sexual predators to be taken off of the street. My office is committed to educating the public about child sex abuse, and prosecuting those who take advantage of these most vulnerable victims,” said DA Flynn.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office Special Victims Bureau is responsible for the prosecution of all cases involving sexual assault, child abuse, Internet crimes against children, and sex offender registration violations. Its mission is to aggressively pursue justice on behalf of our most vulnerable victims while being sensitive to the dynamics associated with sexual assaults and child abuse. Those assigned to the Special Victims Bureau receive specialized training and prosecute cases through a multi-disciplinary approach designed to minimize trauma suffered by the victim.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office is not only responsible for prosecuting these cases, but is committed to preventing child sexual abuse. The DA’s Office is proud to be a part of a community-wide initiative to prevent horrific crimes against children. Special Victims Bureau Chief Rosanne Johnson has completed the Enough Abuse Campaign training. Additional members of the DA’s Special Victims Bureau staff have committed to participate in the training and will provide a minimum of three trainings per year to adults and students in Erie County.
If you are interested in learning more about the Enough Abuse Campaign or would like to participate in an upcoming training, please contact Laurie Syms, Outreach and Education Coordinator at Best Self Behavioral Health at 716.886.5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.