Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Child Sex Attacks Forum Planned

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Child Sex Attacks Forum Planned

Article excerpt

WAYCROSS -- A community forum to increase public awareness about sexual assaults against children and teenagers is being planned by a South Georgia task force dedicated to combating sex crimes.

Members of the Satilla Sexual Assault Task Force yesterday discussed the growing number of youngsters falling prey to child molestation, sexual harassment, incest, date rape and other sexual assaults.

Terry Anderson, director of the related Satilla Rape Crisis Program, said authorities need to better educate both youngsters and their parents about sexual assault and prevention of such crimes.

"Children and youths make up about half to 75 percent of our caseload," Anderson said.

Youths need to understand the seriousness of sex crimes such as date rape and the consequences of the offenses, she said.

"There also is a need for parental education about date rape. A lot of parents don't know the laws," Anderson said.

The Waycross-based task force, formed in April 1998, includes rape crisis center officials, law enforcement officers, health care professionals, public health workers, child social service agency caseworkers, educators and community leaders.

The Satilla Rape Crisis Program, which opened its Waycross crisis center in August, is an outgrowth of the task force.

The non-profit community program provides 24-hour crisis intervention and nurses trained to help sexual assault victims and gather medical evidence. The program also has advocates available to assist victims and their families.

Operating at Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross, the program has handled 44 sexual assault cases since Jan. …

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