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Letter to editor

Get help if needed with the Jessamine County Crime Victims Advocacy Program

Each generation looks to young people to create a brighter future that encourages safe and engaging communities. This hope begins with healthy children being supported by their families, caregivers, teachers and community. Unfortunately, according to a 2015 National Institutes of Health publication, more than two-thirds of children 17 or younger were either victims or witnesses of violence in the last year.
There are multiple ways that children may become victims of crime, ranging from bullying and harassment at school, to dating violence and sexual assault, to child abuse and exposure to domestic violence. Also, while it isn’t addressed as frequently, children suffer from the effects of the ongoing opioid crisis, too.
This type of trauma, if left unaddressed, can have serious consequences on a child’s health, ability to succeed in school, and capability to positively contribute to the community. In a different National Institutes of Health study on violence in the United States, researchers found about 30 percent of children reported that they have been bullied in school or in their communities, and 14 percent suffered from mistreatment by a parent or caregiver at home. Roughly 11 percent of children reported exposure to more than five types of violence, and while all kinds of trauma may affect a child long-term, children who experience poly-victimization are more likely to suffer from serious, lasting effects of violence.
These are only a few ways children experience victimization in their own homes and communities. However, there is hope. Children are resilient, and with the proper support from the adults in their communities, children can avoid lasting damage from the violence they have experienced or witnessed.
Reach out to your local victim advocate to learn how to change social norms, support child victims, and positively contribute to your community. The Jessamine County Crime Victims Advocacy Program is located at 113 Court Row in Nicholasville, and serves all of Jessamine County residents. You may also call (859) 885-9112 for free, confidential information.
Taunya Northup-Mendenhall
Crime Victims Advocate