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AVH Raises Community Awareness on Child Abuse Issues

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More than 250 Professionals and Community Members Attend Special Conference Sponsored by the Assistance League of Antelope Valley and AVH

More than 250 professionals and community members packed the Community Resource Center on the campus of Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) yesterday to attend a special all-day conference on some specific issues related to child abuse. The event was sponsored by Assistance League of Antelope Valley in collaboration with AVH.

The day’s program explored two separate topics: internet safety information in the technology and child abuse investigation and traumatized victims and the cognitive interview. Speakers included: Mary Reina, MSN, RN, director forensic services unit at AVH; Retired Lieutenant Joseph E. Laramie, program manager for the National Criminal Justice Training Center of Fox Valley Technical College; Sergeant Dan Scott, a law enforcement consultant who specializes in the dynamics of mandated child abuse reporting laws and sexual assault; and Cei Kratz, president of Assistance League of Antelope Valley.

"Child abuse is one of the adverse childhood experiences that contributes negatively to the mental and physical health of our community, and it is important that we educate ourselves in order to increase awareness to address this issue," said Reina. "This conference provided us the opportunity to not only share what we have learned about these specific topics but to provide others with the tools and the collaboration needed to help prevent and address child abuse in our community."

As head of AVH’s forensic services unit (FSU), Reina and her team help patients report not only child abuse but sexual assault, elder abuse/neglect, domestic violence, trauma and suspicious injuries as well. The FSU also collaborates with law enforcement agencies, the district attorney’s office and other community partners to ensure justice and the healing of a victim. The only program of its kind in the state of California, thousands of patients have benefited from the FSU since the program began in 2010.