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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- A one-stop resource for the youngest victims of abuse opened on Friday as Family and Children's Place cut the ribbon on a new campus.
The Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center brings LMPD's Crimes Against Children Unit, Child Protective Services, doctors, and prosecutors all under the same roof. The more than $11 million project has been in the works for eight years.
Gary Thompson walked through the new Family and Children's place campus with a vision of himself long ago in mind: "When you were sexually abused as a child, for anyone who has been through that, you'll never not forget what that was like -- hopelessness and terror."
A survivor of sexual abuse beginning at age six, Thompson said the all-encompassing treatment offered at Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center will save lives: "44 years ago when this happened to me, there was no place to go. No place to turn to, no place to raise your hand and say, I need help this needs to stop."
Pam Darnall, the Family & Children's Place President, said Friday that having all those resources in one place is important to the victims: "And how many times they've told me, 'I did not want to have to tell my story to everybody, so I'm taking it back.' So the whole philosophy behind that advocacy center is that the child can tell their story one time."
The campus consists of two sites. The Child Advocacy Center is specifically tailored to kids who have suffered sexual abuse. Over here the Family Services Center is mostly made up of staff, but they work on child abuse prevention in the community. Among the two it's estimated 2500 kids will be served here each year."
Studies show one in four girls and one in six boys in our community are sexually abused before the age of 18.
For Thompson, "I can see this place though their eyes and I can tell you there's not another place in the country like this. And they can immediately start healing, and that's the point.
The new center is located at the corner of Fifth and Kentucky.
The Child Advocacy Center is also a cornerstone for an ongoing campaign in Louisville called Face It. The goal: to end child physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect in our community by 2023.