United Way of Greater Nashua has awarded $9,200 in one-year funding to the Granite State Children’s Alliance (GSCA) for its Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview services.
The Child Advocacy Center in Nashua strives to reduce the trauma suffered by child victims of abuse by creating a child-friendly and safe place where children can talk to a trained professional (forensic interviewer). Minimizing the number of times that a child needs to discuss his/her abuse also can help speed healing, according to the alliance and their mission.
In presenting its program proposal to United Way community investment volunteers, GSCA noted that 226 child victims were interviewed in the Nashua CAC from July 2012 through July 2013. These children represented only 1 in 10 incidents of child physical or sexual abuse that are reported; a staggering statistic.
Three-quarters of children served by the state’s Child Advocacy Centers in 2012 were victims of sexual abuse, and the majority were girls ages 7-12, according to GSCA.
“Routinely children are hesitant to enter the interview room. Understandably, they are anxious,” GSCA wrote in its proposal. “However, through experience and training, the forensic interviewers create a trust with the children that allow these victims to open up and disclose the unthinkable abuse that they have suffered. By the end of the interview, children’s voices are louder, their heads are raised, and they are thoroughly engaged with the interviewer. One can almost visibly see the weight of their secret being lifted off of their shoulders.”
United Way community investment volunteers ranked the program among the top three proposals submitted for funding consideration this year. It received high marks for its ability to measure outcomes, provide a significant community benefit for the cost, and focus on a high priority identified in the community needs assessment. “By investing in the Forensic Interview Program, which has been recognized by the New Hampshire Attorney General as a best practice, United Way of Greater Nashua will be helping Granite State Children’s Alliance increase child abuser prosecution rates while reducing child victims’ stress and connecting them and their families with crisis support services,” said Rod Hansen, chair of the 2014-15 UWGN community investment process.
United Way donors volunteer to review program funding proposals from local non-profit organizations and award grants based on how well the programs address priority needs in the community. The Forensic Interview Program is one of six programs that UWGN approved for one-year funding during the second year of its three-year investment cycle. Funding for another 22 programs was renewed automatically based on the merits of those proposals that were approved in 2013 for three years of support.
United Way-funded programs are expected to serve about 9,200 Greater Nashua residents during the coming year. In addition, several thousand people in the area will be helped by programs that receive support via designated gifts made through United Way’s fundraising campaign.
To view the list of funded programs, visit www.unitedwaynashua.org/community and select impact area (Safety Net, Transitional Housing, or Our Community’s Health). To learn more about needs and investments specific to a community in UWGN’s service area, select the region (Hudson-Litchfield, Merrimack, Nashua, or Souhegan Valley).
Many thanks to all donors whose support makes it possible for United Way to invest in important programs that meet community needs.
To support effective services in Greater Nashua like the Forensic Interview Program, make a donation today.