Raise Your Voice for BCAC

Raise your voice for Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC) and Children’s Advocacy Centers nationwide.

Funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act is at risk.

The Federal budget deal that was just approved took $1.5 billion from the Crime Victims Fund/VOCA, which in turn, could impact the funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act. CVF/VOCA funds are sustained by fines and fees levied against Federal criminal offenders, not your tax dollars, and 800 Child Advocacy Centers nationwide, including BCAC, rely on $20 million in funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act to provide critical intervention services to children.

TELL THE HOUSE AND SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEES TO FULLY FUND THE VICTIMS OF CHILD ABUSE ACT.

BCAC was able to help over 1,000 child victims of abuse, trauma, and Adverse Childhood Experiences last fiscal year alone thanks to crucial funding from the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Without this funding, we are unsure if we will be able to provide the same level of care and services to any child in Baltimore who may need our help.

Be a voice for children by contacting your U.S. Senators and Representatives. Let them know that children deserve the child-friendly, trauma-focused approach to abuse and trauma that only BCAC provides to children in Baltimore.

ADD YOUR NAME TO THIS PETITION TO LET MEMBERS OF CONGRESS KNOW THAT OUR CHILDREN NEED FULL FUNDING OF $20 MILLION FOR THE VICTIMS OF CHILD ABUSE ACT SO THAT WE CAN PROVIDE CRITICAL CRISIS INTERVENTION SERVICES FOR BALTIMORE’S CHILDREN.  

Raise your voice for BCAC

Alternatively, please call your Maryland Representatives who sit on the House Appropriations Committee:

Congressman, Andy Harris at 202-225-5311;

Congressman, C.A. Dutch Rupersberger at 202-225-3061; and

Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Barbara Mikulski, who is also ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Committee at 202-224-4524.

It’s not just child trafficking.

The other morning while I was driving to work down I-83, I saw the following billboard.

billboard

Let me be clear, I would be the first to tell you that child trafficking is one of the most insidious crimes going on in this country right now. And, I admire and appreciate the fact that the FBI is waging such a public campaign to elicit citizens to help end this scourge. However, ending child trafficking is only part of the problem. It’s a bit like cleaning up an oil spill without ending the oil leak. It’s a necessary step, but it’s not fixing the whole problem.

Why doesn’t the billboard implore drivers to Help the FBI End Child Sexual Abuse? Or Child Abuse, in general? (I have issues with the term “child prostitution,” but that’s a post for another day.)

Indeed, there are incidences of child trafficking and prostitution that resulted from a child abduction, but most cases of child trafficking victims aren’t like the movie, “Taken”. These are children who’ve experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences, among them child abuse and sexual abuse. In fact, 90% of children who are commercially sexually exploited have a history of sexual abuse, according to National Institute of Justice. (2007). Commercial sexual exploitation of children: What do we know and what do we do about it? (Publication NCJ 215733). US Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs.n.

Baltimore Child Abuse Center spends a good amount of time working with and helping prevent child trafficking. For over five years now, our forensic interviewers have helped with FBI investigations when cases of child or human trafficking have been discovered. We sit on a variety of task forces, and one of our staff members is one of the state’s (if not the nation’s) leading experts on approaches to combating child sex trafficking.

If there’s anything that we’ve learned in 25 years of forensic interviewing and intervening in child sex abuse cases, it’s that a child deserves the best possible response so that they can find justice and heal. Further, they would be far better-served if we began to concentrate more of our efforts at the root of the problem, rather than responding to situations further down the road.

Perhaps it’s our absolute revulsion over the idea of a child being sold into prostitution that makes such public campaigns and outrage plausible, but I believe firmly that we all should be equally repulsed and ashamed by the fact that children are being abused and sexually abused in every community across Maryland and the entire U.S. Where are the massive public campaigns to stop it?

To my colleagues and advocates in the field who work tirelessly to prevent child trafficking, I salute you. And I also ask, what else we should be doing to prevent these children from ending up in that predicament to begin with?