ChildSafe was recently awarded a $12,500 grant by the Texas Bar Foundation for a new program aimed at providing specific services to interfamilial and/or co-residential child victims of sexual abuse and offenders.
The program will be a collaborative effort with Bexar County Juvenile Probation to provide intervention services to families with youth charged with sexually assaulting a family member. The specific focus is on interfamilial and/or co-residential child victims and offenders.
“More than 80 percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abusers; many times family members or close friends are to blame,” said Kim Abernethy, ChildSafe CEO.
ChildSafe will provide Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TFCBT), an evidenced-based treatment model, to the family members who were victims of sexual abuse in an effort to prepare the family for possible reunification. Juvenile Probation will arrange for the offender to have treatment utilizing a Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Provider (LSOTP) to assure the offender is ready to return to the home environment and not pose a threat to anyone in the household.
Research suggests youth who exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior early and who receive early intervention services are less likely to have future incidents and/or to escalate their inappropriate behavior. Further, it is well documented that appropriate interventions with child sexual abuse victims can reduce the likelihood of long-term negative impacts. This program will help prevent sexual re-offending and promote healing services to victims and families and will utilize a Multi-Disciplinary Team of made up of social services, juvenile court staff, victim advocates, law enforcement, and ChildSafe’s professional counseling staff.
With a dedicated staff of six licensed professional counselors, ChildSafe provides the most advanced therapy and counseling services to children who have been neglected, physically or sexually abused, and, case management to assist the entire family through the investigative and healing processes.
Child victims of abuse have experienced not only the trauma of the abuse, but also often times the trauma of being victimized by someone whom they trusted. Without meaningful intervention, harmful health risks, including chronic mental health and medical problems, increase significantly for victims of child abuse. They are at greater risk of developing mental illness, as well as violent behavior, re-victimization, truancy and dropping out of school, substance abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, suicide and even the tendency to become child abusers themselves. It is estimated that over 50% of girls in the juvenile justice system were sexually abused prior to entering the system (NCTSN, 2004; UTHSCA, 2002, JJDPA Fact Book, 2007).
“ChildSafe is grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for supporting our work and recognizing the need for comprehensive and compassionate services for child victims of abuse,” said Kim Abernethy, ChildSafe CEO.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
For more information about ChildSafe, please visit www.childsafe-sa.org or call (210) 675-9000.