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Update on Sexual Abuse Initiatives from CT State Legislature

At least six out of 10 children who have been sexually abused suffer  from post-traumatic stress syndrome, according to the state Department of Children and Families. As  such the DCF will use a $3.2 million federal grant to improve the way  the agency, community-based clinics and social workers statewide handle  children affected by trauma in all its forms.

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz introduced a five-year program to an audience of human-service providers Friday in the Old Judiciary room at the Capitol.Child-protective agencies and treatment centers across the county  deal every day with children who have witnessed violence, lost a parent  to death or prison, been physically or emotionally abused, been  abandoned, or have been removed from their home. Yet Katz said the  agencies have been slow in developing programs that specifically address  this kind of pain.While DCF goes after, there is a prevention program through out the state Nurturing Families Network.  The free and voluntary program provides in-home and telephone parenting  education and support for first time parents, at risk families to  prevent abuse and neglect.A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests infants experience the highest rates of child abuse. In most  cases, the abuse is linked to families in poverty situations due to  financial stress and a lack of parental education."We have more families now than ever before," said Helma Gregorich, manger for Nurturing Families at the nonprofit Family Centers in Stamford.Family Centers works with Stamford Hospital and Greenwich Hospital to identify at-risk, first-time families. It's a confidential program  and it also gathers information and data to determine its effectiveness."There is improvement in parental well being, they feel more  connected and more competent," Gregorich said. "Eighty percent of the  mothers who participate said they are thankful to have learned positive  discipline. That means no spanking, no shaking no lashing out. That's a  lot of parents."SAFE HOUSEThe Select Committee on Veterans' Affairs is considering SB  115 "An Act Concerning the Military Sexual Assault Prevention and  Response Program." The proposal, a hold over from last session, would  provide confidentiality for disclosures made by military personnel who  are victims of sexual assault to military sexual assault advocates.It's timely given the recent comments by Fox News contributor Liz  Trotta regarding the Pentagon's report that said there has been a 64  percent increase of violent sexual assaults committed by army personnel  in the past six years."I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between  men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been,  since 2006, a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what  did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of  this issue has never been done by Congress, it's strictly been a  question of pressure from the feminists," Trotta said.It's that kind of thinking that makes SB 115 relevant, said State Sen. Carlo Leone, a Democrat representing Stamford and Darien in the 27th Senate District and co-chair of the Veterans Committee."Usually the Federal government doesn't act, or it's too lengthy a  process. The state can act first and that can spur the nation to  action," Leone said.Patch, Feb 27, 2012

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