Tag Archives: Abuse

Catholic Diocese Creates Online Learning Community to Address Abuse

Winona, MN (PRWEB) April 9, 2007

The Diocese of Winona (http://www.dow.org) in partnership with Professional Learning Board (http://www.professionallearningboard.com) launched an interactive online learning community teaching members of the Catholic diocese about recognizing and reporting child abuse.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in its Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People mandates that every U.S. Catholic diocese provide “A ‘safe environment’ program (that) requires training of parents, ministers, educators, church personnel, volunteers and others regularly involved with minors as to the issue of abuse of children, to include sexual abuse.”

PJ Thompson, Chancellor of the Diocese of Winona, led the effort to create the online safe environment education program. “We are committed through our faith and the USCCB Charter to protect all God’s children. An online learning community is the best way we have found to reach virtually all of the people in our diocese that work with children in a religious, education or volunteer capacity.”

The diocese tried reaching its rural audience of over 10,000 through traditional classroom seminars. Thompson added, “It was difficult to fulfill our mission to God and His children. Classroom seminars were inconvenient for our parishioners and comparatively (to online training) very expensive. We needed a better way.”

The online learning program created by the Diocese of Winona permits all people required to complete training the ability to do so at a time and in a place they select. The online courses accommodate learning needs of all members of the faith community while meeting the mandated training topics of USCCB.

The online safe environment learning community includes the first three courses in the Safe & SacredTM Series:

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Who Will Help the Estimated 39 Million Child Sexual Abuse Survivors in America?

Laguna Niguel, California (PRWEB) January 22, 2008

A year ago Diane Cranley’s world was turned upside down when her youngest daughter confided to her that she was being sexually abused. Cranley began her search for additional victims of her daughter’s perpetrator and found others he had abused and others he was grooming.

Caught up in the midst of a legal battle, Cranley made a courageous decision. Rather than becoming a forgotten statistic, Cranley created the non-profit corporation TAALK, Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids. The organization was formed to increase awareness of the child sexual abuse epidemic, with a focus on victims who are abused by a family member or someone they know and trust.

“I chose this focus because more than 90 percent of children who are sexually abused know their abusers,” said Cranley. “This means fewer than 10 percent of abusers are strangers.”

TAALK’s vision is to inspire community coalitions to accept responsibility for educating their residents on how to better protect the children in their community from child sexual abuse.

Its TAALK Today awareness program includes a top down media campaign as well as a grass roots network of members who are committed to spreading the word about the child sexual abuse epidemic. Members personally invite their family, friends and acquaintances to join the movement. The focus of this awareness program is to make child sexual abuse and its prevention an acceptable topic of every day discussion. The program also encourages the public to take action to protect children.

On January 18, 2008, TAALK launched its new website, http://www.taalk.org. In addition to the TAALK Today awareness program and primary prevention education, TAALK provides support services to victims and their families and provides prevention program consulting to youth serving organizations. The website is filled with valuable information to help individuals, organizations and communities prevent child sexual abuse.

“TAALK’s mission is to break the silence that surrounds child sexual abuse,” said Cranley. “We want to shift public consciousness from passive acceptance to the belief that ‘There is No Excuse for Sexual Abuse.’ Our efforts will raise awareness of the existing epidemic and educate the public to take action to protect children.”

According to the American Psychological Association, “Accurate statistics on the prevalence of child and adolescent sexual abuse are difficult to collect because of problems of underreporting and the lack of one definition of what constitutes such abuse. However, there is general agreement among mental health and child protection professionals that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States.”

For additional information on preventing child sexual abuse, contact Diane Cranley or visit http://www.taalk.org.

About TAALK:

TAALK, Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids, is a non-profit corporation formed to increase awareness of the child sexual abuse epidemic, with a focus on victims who are abused by a family member or someone they know and trust.

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Stemming the Tide of Child Sexual Abuse

Longwood, FL (PRWEB) April 17, 2008

What would be worse than to discover a sex offender has moved in next door to you? Or down the street? You have three young children, and almost every other family on the street has at least one child. Know that you can take action! There are ways to prevent that sex offender from hurting your children and those of your neighbors. Author Amanda Conley suggests a pro-active approach to preventing child sexual abuse in her book ‘Sexual Predators Planning to Harm Children Place Themselves in Positions to Have Access to Children’ (paperback, 978-1-60477-575-4).

The author writes with the expertise gained from 20 years in the human services field, including more than eight years of working with abused and neglected children. She has found what appears to be “a stagnation in protecting children or a cavalier approach by many agencies and support services receiving millions of dollars to ensure their safety.” She believes an effective intervention for child safety is way past due and says far too many children are seriously hurt, injured, and killed needlessly on a daily basis.

Conley encourages readers “to play an active role in ensuring the safety and protection of children through prayer first, followed by vigilance and a review of the sexual offenders’ registry,” especially when selecting services or activities for children, such as music lessons, babysitters, medical services, location of home, boy/girl scouts, sleepovers, etc.

Amanda Conley has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology.

Xulon Press, a part of Salem Communications Corporation, is the world’s largest Christian publisher, with more than 4,000 titles published to date. Retailers may order ‘Sexual Predators Planning to Harm Children Place Themselves in Positions to Have Access to Children’ through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors. Salem is the country’s leading Christian communications company with interests in radio, Internet and magazine publishing.

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St Jude’s Ranch Press Announcement – Child Abuse Increases in Difficult Economic Times

Boston, MA (PRWEB) April 18, 2008

One of the tragic consequences of tough economic times is an increase in family breakdowns. That means more abandoned, neglected and abused children. April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to the 7,000 children who are dropped off somewhere, or forgotten, or left on a street corner every year in the United States. Their parents are drug addicts, criminals, prostitutes, mentally ill, or just destitute. Many thousands more children are abused, or neglected to the point that the local child protective services agency steps in and puts them in foster care or, if they’re in Texas and Nevada, sends them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.

St. Jude’s Ranch provides therapeutic healing and nurturing to these children that society has abandoned, and, unlike almost every other child care organization, has the ability to keeps siblings together. For example, most foster homes do not. “We believe it’s the right thing to do, the family thing to do” says Christine J. Spadafor, CEO of St Jude’s Ranch. “When these children come to us, often the only things they have left are brothers and sisters. Keeping them together gives them a place to start from, something to build on after all the trauma they have experienced together in their short lives.”

“We are bringing more children into our safe haven, including a family of 7 kids,” says Spadafor. “We always take in more children when times are tough, like now, because families can fall apart under economic pressure.”

The family of 7 children again sets St. Jude’s Ranch apart – it is the only therapeutic children’s program in the area that can keep so many brothers and sisters together as a family. Before living at the Ranch, they all lived in different homes, or were constantly on the move. “We gave them their own home on the Nevada campus, the first one they have ever had together,” says Spadafor. “It was absolutely the right thing to do. Given where they came from, it took some time for them to adjust and realize this is their home where it now feels safe and stable enough for them to stop living out of their suitcases, which is all they have known, and put their clothes in the drawers.”

Fundraising is more difficult when the economy is bad, and St. Jude’s Ranch must raise $ 1 for every $ 1 the state gives the not-for-profit. These tough economic conditions mean additional pressure on the organization at a time when it is taking in more children. “We’re finding it more challenging to raise money this year,” says Spadafor, “Giving is down just when we need it most.”

Like most families in America, St Jude’s Ranch must find creative ways to make ends meet. For example, one of their corporate sponsors, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, turned an employee conference in Las Vegas into a socially-responsible endeavor. Instead of hitting the tables, they enlisted staff teams to honor ‘wish lists’ and provided a truck full of boxes containing individualized clothes, shoes, toys and essentials for each of the children in both Nevada and Texas.

Helen, the mail room supervisor, goes once a week to the casinos and collects unclaimed lost and found items. She sorts through the astonishing range of things that people leave behind and sets aside shirts, trousers, dresses and jackets used to clothe the children, as they typically arrive at the Ranch with only the clothes they are wearing. Whatever Helen decides the children cannot use goes to the Ranch’s gift shop – now a shopping destination for people who pass it on their commute from Boulder City to Las Vegas or on their way to Boulder Dam and Lake Mead.

As well as taking care of the every-day expenses, larger donors are also vital to St. Jude’s Ranch as they aim to expand their services to other children in need. “We’re desperate to open our facility for pregnant and parenting teens; we are only in the planning stages and are already getting requests to place pregnant girls, the youngest being 10 years old,” says Spadafor. “Not to mention new programs that will provide homes for the many children who are bounced around the system, in and out of foster care. Some are sent to prison because they have no home and there’s nowhere else for them to go.”

“We need America to keep giving,” says Spadafor, “especially when times are tough. It’s not for lack of caring,” she continues, “It’s just that people don’t always know we’re here. That’s why having a month dedicated to National Child Abuse Awareness is so important to organizations like ours and to our children.”

For more information about St Jude’s Ranch for Children, or to make a donation, visit http://www.stjudesranch.org.

For press enquiries, please call Jennifer Becker, Community Relations Coordinator, at 1.702.294.7102.

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TAALK Announces Daily E-Mail Tips to Educate the Public on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention


Laguna Niguel, California (PRWEB) April 24, 2008

In support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, TAALK is launching a daily e-mail tip series on child sexual abuse prevention called TAALK Tips. To sign up for the program, simply visit http://www.taalk.org/taalk_tips.html .

One in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. Victims of child sexual abuse are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social and physical health problems which often last into adulthood. These problems often appear as depression and suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, drug and alcohol dependencies, school and/or financial failure, teenage pregnancy and promiscuity and criminal behavior.

” Child sexual abuse is clearly a community problem, but child sexual abuse prevention is a personal decision,” said TAALK’s founder, Diane Cranley. “Protecting children from sexual abuse doesn’t come naturally, it’s a skill set that every adult must learn if they want to protect the children in their circle of influence.”

According to Cranley, “The TAALK Tips e-mail series is a convenient way for adults to learn new behaviors that will significantly lower the risk of abuse and the daily delivery is the best way to keep these newly formed behaviors top-of-mind until they become habit.”

Child sexual abuse is a major public health issue that demands the public’s attention. Anyone concerned about preventing child sexual abuse in their community is encouraged to subscribe to TAALK Tips.

TAALK’s founder, Diane Cranley, is available for general interviews as well as her TAALK Tips daily radio interview series. She can be reached at 1-888-808-6558.

About TAALK:

TAALK, Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids, is a 501(c)3 public charity formed to increase awareness of the child sexual abuse epidemic, with a focus on victims who are abused by a family member or someone they know and trust. TAALK’s mission is to break the silence that surrounds child sexual abuse and shift public consciousness from passive acceptance to the belief that “There is No Excuse for Sexual Abuse.” TAALK’s efforts will raise awareness of the existing epidemic and educate the public to take action to protect children. TAALK provides support services to victims and their families and provides community prevention program consulting. Visit taalk.org for valuable resources and more information on TAALK programs.

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The Zalkin Law Firm’s Response to the Newsday Article that Advocates Protecting Church Money Over Helping Sexual Abuse Victims

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 2, 2009

Irwin M. Zalkin, an attorney helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse across the country, has taken on the editors of Newsday. “The Newsday Editorial of April 24 2009, entitled “Keep the State out of the Church,” calls for the State Legislature to abandon the principle of accountability to survivors of the historical scourge of childhood sexual abuse,” stated Zalkin. As Zalkin explains: “While conceding that the Catholic Church harbored sexual predators, the Newsday editors argue that due to the passage of time survivors of this wrongful conduct should not be provided their day in court. Under the editors’ reasoning, neither judge nor jury should be allowed to weigh the evidence of such wrongful harboring of predators and the damage it caused. Instead, due to the mere fact that one day has followed another, survivors, their families, their employers, and society at large must pay for the cost of the damage. Damage inflicted by religious corporations when they committed wrongful acts in their dealings with pedophiles, ephebophiles, and children.”

The editors’ objection to allowing civil actions for past abuse is grounded in the claim that: “Experience has taught us that memories fade, witnesses die and evidence can’t be found.” In response, Zalkin challenges that assertion: “If the passage of time has so damaged the claims of the survivors that they should be denied a fair and open hearing, then how is it that the editors can so boldly print as fact that Catholic Church harbored sexual predators? It is because sufficient evidence of these crimes still exists.”

Zalkin offers the report of the Suffolk County Supreme Court, Special Grand Jury Report, released in February of 2003, as proof that the evidence of these crimes still exist. “In the Diocese of Rockville Center, average citizens, members of a grand jury, armed with subpoena power were able to uncover substantial evidence, both in the form of documents and percipient witness testimony, of the historical fact of childhood sexual abuse committed by religious leaders in their community,” explains Zalkin. “The grand jury uncovered evidence that the local diocese had protected at least 58 abusive priests. The diocese engaged in aggressive tactics that purported to help victims and their families but that actually used intimidation, claims of confidentiality, hush payments, and other means to cover-up abusive conduct.”

Zalkin asserts that “The citizens of the grand jury could not have been any clearer in their February 03 report stating: ‘The Grand Jury concludes that officials in the Diocese failed in their responsibility to protect children. They ignored credible complaints about the sexually abusive behaviors of priests. They failed to act on obvious warning signs of sexual abuse including instances where they were aware that priests had children in their private rooms in the rectory overnight, that priests were drinking alcohol with underage children and exposing them to pornography. Even where a priest disclosed sexually abusive behavior with children officials failed to act to remove him from ministry,’ and ‘The grand jury concludes that the history of the Diocese of Rockville Centre demonstrates that as an institution they are incapable of properly handling issues relating to the sexual abuse of children by priests.”’

“Should everyone, other than the responsible parties, be left to pay for the damage caused by the manner in which the Diocese failed to supervise the 58 men identified by the Grand Jury?” asks Zalkin in response to the position advanced by the Newsday editors.

The editors conclude their analysis by warning that the Legislature risks permitting a secular legal system to decide what a religious community owes its aggrieved faithful. Zalkin responds to that conclusion by stating that: “The United States Supreme Court teaches that even religious conduct can be regulated for the protection of society. There is no valid argument that the sexual abuse of children is beyond review of civil courts simply because the offending hands and minds are otherwise ordained for the service of God. In crying against civil review of religious entities the editors miss the point that the offending entities have availed themselves of the privileges and benefits of civil incorporation under the laws of the State. Through those incorporations, the entities have chosen to operate under, and be subject to, the civil justice system. Rather than crushing the principle of accountability, the editors should express a bit more faith in the abilities of the members of their readership, local citizens serving as judges and juries, to do what is right in light of available evidence.”

With offices in New York and San Diego, The Zalkin Law Firm is one of the premier sexual abuse and personal injury law firms in the country. The firm’s lawyers have achieved groundbreaking results in numerous high-profile clergy abuse cases across the United States. Mr. Zalkin has negotiated over $ 200 million in settlements in Catholic clergy sex abuse cases.

Mr. Zalkin is available to speak to the media about clergy sexual abuse and the Child Victim’s Act of New York (A2596). Please call Lisa Maynes (212-889-1300) to arrange interviews. To speak to Mr. Zalkin about legal representation, please call The Zalkin Law Firm (212-889-1300).

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Media Release: …Because Lying in the Family Court is Child Abuse, Says Fathers4Equality

Sydney, NSW (PRWEB) May 8, 2009

A case of poor judgment.

The Chief Justice of the Family Court, Diana Bryant, has recently launched an extraordinary attack on Australia’s internationally regarded 2006 Family Law amendments, by writing to the Attorney-General and asking him to urgently repeal important provisions within the amendments.

According to Ash Patil, President of shared parenting group Fathers4Equality, “These provisions in the family law act were specifically implemented to reduce the epidemic of false allegations and parental alienation that permeate every corridor of the Family Law Courts, to the clear detriment of the innocent children caught in the cross-fire. But Bryant wants them removed, and fails to explain how the innocent victims of maliciously false allegations would be protected without them.”

James Adams adds, “What is more astonishing it seems is that unlike the parliamentary committee that recommended these laws in the first place, the Chief Justice has not consulted widely before making such an extraordinary intervention (in fact she has not consulted with any fathers’ groups at all). Rightly or wrongly, Bryant will now be perceived to have compromised views on this issue, denying her the opportunity to have played a unifying force in the process of family law reform in this country, much like the wasted opportunities of her predecessor.”

The two provisions Bryant wants specifically removed include:

*the order of costs, at the Judge’s discretion, against a parent who has been proven to have “knowingly” made false allegation in Court, and

*unspecified actions, at the Judges’s discretion, against a parent who has purposely alienated or deliberately maligned the children against the other parent

The importance of these provisions

Patil explains that “These provisions have been specifically implemented to reduce the disturbingly common practices by some separated parents in making contrived and sinister allegations in Court against the other parent, and to otherwise engage in concerted efforts to destroy the relationship between the child and the other parent. This is done knowing full well the children will be irrevocably harmed in the process, both psychologically and emotionally. Yet it goes on and will continue to go on given human nature, unless we have laws to help it stop.

“So these are ‘good’, modest provisions designed to stop misguided parents from misusing the system and abusing innocent children.”

Introduced only after extensive community consultation

According to Adams “These provisions were agreed to by a bi-partisan parliamentary committee (both Labor and Libs/Nats) that went around Australia canvassing the views of all Australians for over two years. Finally this committee was so appalled at the extent of institutional abuse in the Family Court that it recommended measures to protect innocent children and parents who were victims of contrived allegations and parental alienation by spiteful ex-partners.”

But Bryant wants to override the will of the Australian people and the will of Parliament, and to completely remove all disincentives against lying in the Family Court.

Really soft penalty for a very serious crime

Patil, who claims that many F4E members are subjected to false allegations, states that “Proving that someone has ‘knowingly’ made false allegations rather than ‘mistakenly’ or ‘recklessly’ is quite a tall order. The standard of proof in these matters is a very tough hurdle to pass, and as a result ‘knowingly false’ allegations have only been proven in a relatively few cases in recent years. If they are proved, they may result in a costs order, although this has been rarely applied in children’s matters by the judiciary.

“Now given that perjury in any other Australian court may result in 10 years or more jail time, one must be mindful of the fact that this is a really soft penalty for a very serious crime. It is a provision however that can work as a disincentive, albeit a modest one, in dissuading many parents from lying in the Family Court in the first place.”

So these are “good”, modest provisions designed as a disincentive to those misguided parents who may in a moment of weakness be tempted to make contrived allegations in Court.

Measured responses to issues of concern

Patil and Adams are frustrated by the logic used by the Chief Justice, and Patil adds that “Bryant justifies the need for these changes by suggesting that some people have misunderstood these provisions. Even if this is true, her suggested fix is a remarkable over-reaction to an issue that could be addressed through a number of simple measures.”

“Given that most parents in family law proceedings are either represented by lawyers, have visited a family relationship centre or have sought government funded legal services, a simple review could identify the cause of this misinformation from within these service providers, and provide an opportunity for corrective measures to be implemented.”

Adams wonders why the Chief Justice needs to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and opines that “a request to the Attorney General to implement an educational campaign to educate parents about these provisions would go a long way in addressing any existing misconceptions, and would be a more measured and effective approach to the issue at hand.”

Adams continues “Given the unprecedented nature of these family law amendments, what is required are sensible, well-measured & ultimately timely approaches to these issues, in order to allow for proper outcomes based research to develop. Anything less than this would put at risk the very wellbeing of those we are trying to protect.”

Broader consultations as a first step

Fathers4Equality would like to encourage the Chief Justice to put some thought into what checks and measures she would alternatively suggest be implemented, if the current provisions are removed, to protect children from the devastating damage resulting from alienation and perjury in Court. Given that lying in the Family Court and parental alienation are forms of child abuse, we stress the importance of carefully considering the implications to the welfare of children if these safeguards are removed.

Secondly and in reference to a recent campaign that has promoted a less than accurate reflection of these new laws, we would ask the Chief Justice to consider making a public statement to the effect, as is the case, that no evidence exists of any escalation of child abuse as a result of the new amendments. This would be an important statement from the Chief Justice in the interests of an informed community discussion on this matter, and would help ensure that the debate is discussed in terms of facts, not innuendo.

Finally, we would like to draw attention to the increasingly under-resourced and overworked child protection authorities in this country, and the fact that too many cases of genuine abuse are not thoroughly investigated, in part because of the level of false allegations emanating from the Family Court. It must be recognised that for every hour that a child protection officer is investigating a false allegation, it is one hour less protection that can be given to a child in genuine need, and this is a cost that the children of Australia simply cannot afford.

Fathers4Equality would be open to discussing these important issues further with the Chief Justice, if she is willing to accept our invitation.

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New York Nursing Home Faces Punitive Damages for Elder Abuse – Attorney Paul Dansker Addresses Nursing Home Patients Rights

New York (PRWEB) January 20, 2010

The New York Post recently reported that in December 2009, a Brooklyn nursing home was found guilty of negligence in the case of a patient who developed numerous bedsores while under the homes care. The jury awarded the patients family close to $ 4 million for pain and suffering, plus an additional $ 15 million as punishment for trying to cover up the poor patient care. This case is the first to charge a nursing home with punitive damages.

Sadly, this example of nursing home neglect is not the only one. Elder abuse is prevalent in nursing homes around the country, and with serious consequences for patients. Older adults who are victims of elder abuse are more than twice as likely to die prematurely as are adults who are treated properly, according to a study published in the August 5, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines institutional elder abuse as any of several forms of maltreatment of an older person by someone who has a special relationship with the elder (a spouse, a sibling, a child, a friend, or a caregiver) that occur in residential facilities for older persons, including nursing homes. Its website, http://www.ncea.aoa.gov, explains that perpetrators of institutional abuse usually are persons who have a legal or contractual obligation to provide elder victims with care and protection (e.g., paid caregivers, staff, professionals).

Looking exclusively at falls, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that an average nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls each year, representing up to 75 percent of residents. Many falls were caused by environmental hazards like wet floors, poor lighting, incorrect bed height and improper wheelchair use.

A November 2009 report from the University of California, San Francisco, stated that 26 percent of the nations nursing facilities were cited in 2008 for poor quality of care, 44 percent of nursing homes failed to ensure a safe environment for residents, 36 percent had food sanitation regulations violations and 33 percent of facilities received deficiencies for failure to meet quality standards.

Paul Dansker, Esq., is a New York City-based personal injury attorney who has represented families of elder abuse victims. Mistreatment can take many different forms, including physical, emotional, psychological or sexual abuse; neglect; withholding food and water; or denying visits from family and friends. Many older adults and their families may not even be aware that laws exist to prevent this type of harm, Dansker said.

Family members and friends of nursing home residents must be vigilant in looking for signs of possible abuse or neglect, advised Dansker. These can include personality changes, depression, anxiety, unexplained or unusual bruises and injuries, rapid weight loss, poor grooming, and potentially unsafe conditions.

Dansker recommends that families of individuals in nursing homes keep a personal record of possible mistreatment, including specifics on dates, times, and caretakers in charge.

Careful documentation of possible neglect or abuse will be necessary in the event that a family member decides to file a complaint or lawsuit, he said. Dansker also added that a family should seek out the assistance from local and state adult protective services or long-term care agencies who can advise on appropriate steps to take.

For state-specific elder abuse prevention information and resources, visit http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/NCEAroot/Main_Site/Find_Help/State_Resources.aspx.

Dansker & Aspromonte Associates is located at 30 Vesey Street, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10007. For more information, call (212) 732-2929 or visit http://www.dandalaw.com.

About Dansker & Aspromonte Associates: Dansker & Aspromonte Associates is a New York personal injury law firm specializing in serious brain injuries; medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, falls, construction accidents, municipal liability, injuries to children and more. The firm has represented thousands of clients and obtained hundreds of millions of dollars for them over the last 30 years.

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Kevin Bacon, Dylan McDermott, Gabrielle Union and Christina Ricci Headline Campaign to Help Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Washington, DC (PRWEB) April 15, 2010

RAINN, the nations largest anti-sexual violence organization, today is launching a new celebrity-driven campaign to make sure survivors of child sexual abuse get the help that they deserve. This campaign is very timely, noted Katherine Hull, RAINNs vice president for communications. The tremendous news coverage recently of these crimes against children has the potential to trigger flashbacks and difficult memories for survivors of child sexual abuse. Thats why its critical that we reach these individuals to let them know that its never too late to get help.

The campaign spots feature RAINNs national spokeswoman, actress Christina Ricci, alongside actors Kevin Bacon, Dylan McDermott, and actress Gabrielle Union. This latest initiative was formed in partnership with director and filmmaker Amy Berg, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her documentary film, Deliver Us From Evil, which explored child sexual abuse. The campaign also features music from hit singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne.

The majority of child sexual abuse victims know their attacker, and the effects of this crime can last a lifetime as many victims keep the pain inside for far too long and never get the help they need, said Amy Berg, director of the campaign spots. The new campaign aims to get the message out to child sexual abuse victims that its never too late to reach out for help; help is available through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines. According to Berg, It is clear we need to do more to protect and help our children. It is especially important to tell children that they do not have to keep their abusers secret.

Every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted; nearly half of all victims are under the age of 18. Its estimated that there are over 20 million survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S. The effects of this crime on victims are staggering; survivors who do not get help following sexual abuse are at a higher risk for suffering from grave mental health issues such as PTSD, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and feelings of guilt, shame, and anger.

RAINNs child sexual abuse public service announcements, The Secret and Living in Fear, are available for free public and private use across broadcast and digital platforms. To incorporate RAINNs PSAs digitally, use the embed code from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5cgfVGefUo

To download HD broadcast quality versions of the PSAs, and to learn more about the campaign, visit: http://www.rainn.org/news-room/news/dont-keep-the-secret

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, please know that the abuse is not your fault and that its never too late to get help. If youre being sexually abused, or have been in the past, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at rainn.org to talk to someone who understands what you are going through.

RAINN would like to extend a very special thanks to John C. Manly and Bart Dalton who made this campaign possible thanks to their generosity and their dedication to eradicating child sexual abuse.

RAINN would also like to thank each and every person who was involved with the production of this PSA who donated his or her time, creativity, and talent. Its only because of your support that this public service announcement was made possible: Caius Ahn, Nina Ahn, Jessica Brooks, Monty Buckles, Joelle Casteix, Mary Crosby, CTI Production & Multimedia, LLC, Morgan Denton, Disarming Film, Susan Foster, Evi Graza, Valentina Graza, GMT Studios, Marnie Goodfriend, Holden Hadfield, Hillary Hanak, Victoria Jackson, Ray LaMontagne, Ernesto Lomeli, Christina Lowry, Nat Magnuson, Sybil McCarthy, Billy McMillin, Trixie McMillin, Daryll Merchant, Tarajia Morrel, Alvaro Navarr, Darcy Parsons, Gracie Paton, Olympic Partners, David Polcy, Ann Rosencrans, Lauren Sakioka, David Siebenaler, Gwen Uszuko, Marcus Watson, David Weiss, Adrienne Weller.

About RAINN

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nations largest anti-sexual assault organization and was named one of Americas 100 Best Charities by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and rainn.org) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotline has helped more than 1.4 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.

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Sexual Abuse By Clergy Must Be Addressed By U.S. Churches & Religious Organizations, Says Texas Lawyer


Houston, Texas (PRWEB) April 18, 2010

Churches of all denominations must confront the problem of sexual abuse by clergy and other religious leaders and work harder to protect victims of abuse rather than the abusers, Texas attorney Brad T. Wyly says.

Religious leaders occupy positions of substantial power and authority. Children are taught to trust and obey them, said Wyly, founder of the Wyly Law Firm, P.C. which represents victims of personal injury, including clergy abuse. Churches and other religious organizations need to ensure the relationship between clergy and children is not abused. Sexual abuse of a minor is a particularly horrendous crime that can affect youths psychologically and physically for the rest of their lives.

Wyly said documents that show Catholic Church leaders allowed a predatory priest to molest deaf boys for decades despite numerous complaints serves as a glaring reminder of the devastating consequences of a religious organizations failure to address this problem.

According to church records published as part of a March 24, 2010 New York Times article, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy admitted to a counselor that he had sexually abused dozens of boys perhaps upwards of 200while ministering at a school for the deaf near Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the 1950s to 1970s. Despite numerous complaints about Murphys conduct to three archbishops and law enforcement officials, he was never defrocked and instead quietly transferred to another community where he continued to work in parishes and schools until his death in 1998.

Children who are victims of sexual abuse can experience difficulty in developing positive relationships and often experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder involving terrifying flashbacks and nightmares in which they relive the ordeal. Victims of sexual abuse often experience social withdrawal, have problems sleeping, have trust issues and may develop chemical dependency issues.

Lawsuits against those responsible for clergy abuse can bring about change. They can help ensure that the person responsible for the abuse is removed from his position of power so that he can never hurt another child, Wyly said.

Victims of clergy abuse may also be able to pursue compensation from those responsible while preserving their privacy. This can be done either through pursuing settlement negotiations with the church or religious organization responsible for the abuse out-of-court or by guarding the privacy of the victim through a motion to seal court records from the general public. Privacy concerns should not prevent someone from holding those responsible for sexual abuse accountable, Wyly said.

About the Wyly Law Firm, P.C.:

The Wyly Law Firm, P.C., is dedicated to helping people who have suffered a personal injury including sexual abuse. The firm investigates allegations of sexual abuse and pursues civil actions against abusers and any third party that failed to protect innocent victims. The service we provide is confidential and focuses on doing what is best for you the client. The firm, based in Houston, represents clients throughout Texas.

Brad T. Wyly, the founder of the law firm, is a skilled negotiator and lawyer. He was named as a Rising Star in Law & Politics magazine in 2005 and 2006. Mr. Wyly may be contacted at 713.574.7034 for a private and confidential consultation.

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