BARNSTABLE – The organization which provides a myriad of services to child victims of sexual assault and their families hosted State Representative Sarah Peake, Representative Tim Whelan, Senator Julian Cyr and other local politicians Friday.
During that meeting, attendees toured each of the three floors at Children’s Cove.
The advocacy center has provided personalized support to victims since 2000, providing a place for them to safely disclose their experience and begin recovery.
Associate Director Lenny Fontes started visitors on the third floor, showing them the interview room adorned with kid-friendly decorations and explaining how radio ads and societal change have positively impacted the issue surrounding abuse.
Fontes said that people feel somewhat more inclined to share their experiences and not sweep them under the rug.
He also stressed that the goal of each client relationship is a “positive outcome,” one not stressed by unnecessary questioning and one which prioritizes familial strength and comfort over prosecution.
Rather than have victims endure uncomfortable interviews with multiple agencies, Fontes said it is easier and more efficient to have one primary interview with corresponding investigators behind a two-way mirror.
While on this leg of the tour, State Representative Dylan Fernandes commented on the “home-feel” of the building. Fontes and other officials said that the comfort of their clients is of utmost importance.
Community Education and Outreach Coordinator Jacaob Stapledon said that he values the legislators’ time and hopes the tour will inspire a greater understanding of their services.
“Child sexual abuse happens on Cape Cod, and the biggest thing we want people to do is have conversations with their kids,” he said. “We provide a multidisciplinary team in response to abuse.”
According to Children’s Cove, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before turning 18, and 30 percent of them will not disclose their abuse for reasons surrounding intimidation, embarrassment or trauma.