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Rolison Hosts Child Exploitation Forum
Research, intervention, and collaboration among stakeholders key

Published: 4/9/2014

For More Information Contact:

Catherine F. Durland, (845) 486-2103

Poughkeepsie, NY … Crimes of a sexual nature committed against children and adolescents are commonly overlooked, misunderstood, and unaddressed.  Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors has far reaching consequences not only to the individual but to the family, community and society. In a call for action Chairman Rob Rolison hosted a Child Exploitation Forum today at the Dutchess County Legislature.

The forum covered strategies for increasing awareness and understanding among professionals and the public; for strengthening the law’s response, as well as research, intervention, and collaboration among stakeholders; for evaluating current and future programs and information-sharing platform to promote communication and coordination among providers, professionals and the public.  Attendees included members of the legislature, law enforcement, probation, social services and non-profits.  

Rolison stated, “Child exploitation is a problem and it’s imperative that we understand and develop real solutions to protect our youth.  If we fail to respond, children and adolescents will continue to be overlooked, suffer needlessly, and their exploiters will perpetuate these abuses without suitable consequences. Our children are priority number one and anything less is unacceptable.”

County Executive Marc Molinaro stated, “Dutchess County is not immune to issues of child exploitation.  Our County Youth Board and Coordinating Council is committed to strengthening community and family interaction with our young people in an effort to prevent crime.   Together with other community stakeholders, we can improve quality of life and empower young people to lead productive lives and achieve greater success for themselves and their families. ”

Kathleen Murphy, Executive Director of the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, announced a study that will be conducted.  The study will examine community risk factors, study best practices from other communities, and develop strategies to better address the challenges confronting young people today.  Murphy stated, “We cannot wait! Our children need us to take action now. In New York State,  94% of all children that go missing are runaways and this makes them the most vulnerable in our population to be sexually exploited. Together, we will learn about this un-noticed issue, and together we will work to solve it. Dutchess County has the resources to accomplish this and become a model for the entire state.”