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Sen. Roy Blunt Discusses Child Abuse Legislation in St. Joseph

Senator Roy Blunt stopped at the Children's Advocacy Center Tuesday.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) United States Senator Roy Blunt stopped at the Children's Advocacy Center Tuesday where he met with local leaders working to protect children from abuse.

The Missouri Republican's visit was one of two stops in the state to push for the re-authorization of a bill he sponsored -The Victims of Child Abuse Act.

He says it's important to avoid proposed cuts to provide better resources for young abuse victims.

The Children's Advocacy Center offers that type of care in St. Joseph.

"This is a place where kids go and maybe you have to have one interview about what happened rather than four or five interviews because we're constantly searching for the person who knows how to talk to kids about this kind of violence in their life," said Sen. Blunt.

The Advocacy Center has two full-time counselors now, but needs additional counselors and a full-time investigator to keep up with the load. The Children's Advocacy Center serves nine counties and sees five new children daily.

Joyce Estes, director, says they can't provide the services without proper funds and help from the community.

"It's had a real impact on discouraging one of the most terrible things that any society can see happening in their society which is people taking advantage of kids," added Blunt.

More than half of the kids they see are younger than twelve. Experts say early interviews are important to prosecute their abusers.

"They need to be seen as soon as possible not six weeks later or two months later they can't, these kids can't wait they're having problems now," said Estes.

More than half of the incidents counselors see at the Advocacy Center are sexual abuse followed by physical abuse. Right now, grants and private donations help the center offer free services to families.
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