Fayetteville's Child Advocacy Center helps victims of abuse

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Each year, Roberta Humphries sees more child abuse victims walk through the Child Advocacy Center doors.

It's not necessarily a bad thing.

"It's almost a double-edged sword," she said. "You don't like to see more cases, but we've done so much outreach in the community and people are starting to recognize child abuse and report it."

Humphries oversees the non-profit that helps young victims and their family members cope in the aftermath of abuse. Their services range from mental and forensics counseling and evaluations to outreach and prevention programs.

The goal is simple.

"So that the abuse that they've suffered doesn't really define who they become as an adult," said Humphries.

Last year social services and law enforcement referred more than 600 victims to the CAC. Most of the cases involved children younger than 7, and many of the cases involve sex abuse.

For that reason, the CAC focuses more of its prevention on outreach programs for pre-schoolers. Using books entitled "Some Parts Are Not For Sharing," and "Do you have a Secret?", story time turns into a learning and awareness experience in county PK programs.

"In a child friendly way, [we] just let them know that their bodies are theirs, and that there are such things as bad secrets," Humphries said.

While disturbing child abuse cases, including incest and attempted smothering have been in Cumberland County news this month, Humphries said the staff deals with the unthinkable on a daily basis.

"I think when I first started [6 years ago], I think the shocking thing was when we had a biological father that had impregnated his own daughter," said Humphries. "I think that was one of the first shocking things I couldn't wrap my head around. But you know, we've seen more and more of it and it's not so shocking to us, although it's a shocking thing to happen."

Next weekend, the CAC will hold its signature fundraising event, a Masquerrade Ball in Downtown Fayetteville's Metropolitan Room.

Proceeds build the center's operational fund and help continue outreach.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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