Something happened to Angelica that devastated both her and her father. The support that our Child Advocacy Center staff provided gave Angelica and her dad the chance to heal and form a deep, trusting bond.
After nine-year-old *Angelica’s mother suddenly passed away, her father turned to a close friend for help babysitting Angelica after school.
Tragically, this ‘trusted friend’ repeatedly raped Angelica over the course of months and threatened her not to tell anyone. Summoning all of her courage, she finally told her teachers, who then reported her case to the New York State Child Abuse Hotline. With their report, Angelica and her father were taken to one of Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Centers.
How We Helped Angelica and Her Family
At first, Angelica didn’t want to talk about what happened. She had been so scared of losing her father and of being taken away that she held on to this awful secret for months. Our staff assured Angelica that she had done the right thing by telling her teachers. With this help and encouragement, Angelica opened up to them about what had happened to her.
Angelica’s father, meanwhile, was angry and felt incredibly guilty that his best friend had taken advantage of their tragic situation to hurt and terrorize Angelica. Our counselors helped him understand that the abuse was not his fault, and offered him a chance to learn more about how he could support Angelica.
Justice for Angelica
Our Child Advocacy Centers partner with the police to bring abusers to justice and had some questions of their own for Angelica’s abuser. They discovered that the abuser found out that Angelica had finally reported what he had done and he tried to flee. The police brought him back to our Child Advocacy Center, where they interviewed him. After concluding their investigation, the police arrested the man who Angelica’s father had put so much trust in.
Angelica’s abuser ended up on trial, and with the tremendous help of our counselors and partners, Angelica is no longer afraid to tell her father when something’s wrong and her father tells us that they’ve become much closer. They are now a family again thanks to our Child Advocacy Center staff, who help children like Angelica get a chance to find happiness, safety, and a new start after abuse.
If you suspect that a child you know may be a victim of abuse, please report this to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse & Maltreatment: 800.342.3720.
* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.