St. Charles, MO (KTRS) Child welfare advocates are gathering in St. Charles this week for the 12th annual Midwest Justice For Children Conference.
The three-day event is a joint effort between the Child Center in Wentzville and the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The conference, which is being held at the St. Charles Convention Center, offers an opportunity for local professionals to learn how to better serve victims of child sexual abuse.
Amy Robins, a supervisor of forensic services at the Child Center in Wentzville, says she believes progress has been made in dealing with child sexual abuse, but more needs to be done.
“I still think that it’s a huge stigma today or taboo topic to talk about child sexual abuse, but we know in order to end it, we have to start talking about it.” adds Robins.
St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar says in most abuse cases, the victim does know their abuser, such as a family member or friend.
Around 300 child sex abuse cases have been prosecuted in St. Charles County in the last five years.
The benefit of using of therapy dogs is among the topics being discussed. Robins brought her chocolate lab named Reka to the conference to share how she has brought comfort to children during forensic interviews.
“She will look up at them when they are in the middle of disclosure and lick a tear from their face and just be that support for them that they ultimately need that any human can’t provide.” said Robins.
The conference will wrap up on Friday.
More information about child sexual abuse is available online at www.thechildcenter.com.