Friday, June 2 marks the kickoff of the Friday Nights Live Concert Series at SouthPointe Pavilions in Lincoln. You can hear live music every Friday from 6:30p.m. - 8:30 p.m. until August 25 in the Center Courtyard.
Donations are encouraged at the annual concert series, which raises money and awareness for Lincoln’s Child Advocacy Center.
The Child Advocacy Center is the only organization in the area providing fact-finding interviews, on-going advocacy, and medical evaluations for child victims of abuse.
The CAC opened its doors in 1998, based on the need for a safe and friendly place for child victims to tell about possible abuse endured. Prior to 1998, Lynn Ayers, now Executive Director of the CAC, was a case worker for Child Protective Services. She said she saw many children have to tell about horrific forms of abuse endured while sitting in the back of police cruisers, in police interrogation rooms, and in cold and sterile hospital emergency rooms.
"These places were intimidating and distracting for the child victim. I also witnessed the child telling numerous times to different professionals, which increased trauma experienced by children and low prosecution rates," Ayers said. "Each time the child told, details of their experience were left out or slightly different - which didn’t stand a chance in the court room."
"Now, children are able to talk about abuse endured with a forensic interviewer who is asking neutral, fact-finding questions in a comfortable setting; while this is taking place law enforcement and child protective services are observing the interview live, through an observation room. This reduces trauma, as the child doesn’t have to tell multiple times."
The center is planning on serving more kids in the future as community members become more aware of this problem, and learn how to identify abuse and protect kids in our community.
"We’ve actually seen a steady increase of child victims over the past 19 years. When we opened our doors, we were seeing about 30 children a month. Now, we’re serving roughly 100 children each month, and our need is great."
The CAC has bolstered training and prevention efforts by adding a training & prevention director, and have opened up two satellite offices in Auburn and York to help provide aid to the 17 counties they serve.