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Concord Monitor May 7, 2022
“We know that it can take a lot for a child victim to come forward and to really recognize and understand their trauma,” said Pamela Keilig, public policy specialist at the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “That’s why it’s really important that they are aware that there are services available to them, even if it’s something that happened 50 years ago or 20 years ago, because trauma can have such lifelong impacts on victims.”
From 2020 to 2021, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence served 1,155 child and adolescent victims of sexual assault.
Joi Smith, program director at the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said today’s interviews are transparent and trauma-informed.
“They show the kids where the camera is and they go with the child’s pace, they build rapport with the child, they don’t pressure children at all to try to get the child to disclose anything that they don’t feel comfortable doing so,” Smith said.
New Hampshire Bulletin May 6, 2022
The Senate passed legislation Thursday allotting $100 million to settle claims with the hundreds of people who’ve said they were sexually or physically abused as children while held at the state’s former Youth Development Center.
Advocacy groups issued statements immediately after the vote.
“To be clear: The bill that passed today is not victim-centered and does not seek to make victims whole,” said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “HB 1677 fails hundreds of children who were abused by employees of the state of New Hampshire.”
WMUR May 6, 2022
"The appropriate tool would have opened its doors to every victim that's experienced abuse, every victim who was tortured, and allow them to make their case in a very individualized way," said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Manchester Ink Link May 4, 2022
NHCADSV said it is critical that the definition of abuse be expanded so that any child who was sexually abused at YDC is eligible to participate in the settlement. The group said it opposes the bill as written and “we cannot recommend that victims use this process unless the bill is amended.
WMUR May 4, 2022
"We encourage the Senate to reconsider this bill," said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. "In its current form, it is not something that we in good faith can encourage victims to use. It is not a victim-centered alternative to a court proceeding."
InDepthNH May 4, 2022
Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said her organization cannot support the bill as is, as it excludes too many victims.
“The State of New Hampshire miserably failed to protect vulnerable children in its care at YDC and the Sununu Center. Children in New Hampshire’s youth detention centers suffered heartbreaking and unthinkable abuse for decades. The government employees who committed these terrible acts took advantage of the youth in their care, leveraging their position of authority to cover up the extent of their abuse,” Grady Sexton said.
Grady Sexton added, “The state has an opportunity to set a powerful precedent through this settlement fund. Although there is no way to adequately compensate a victim for the life-long impacts of the sexual abuse and violence they endured while in the care of the state, the state can demonstrate what it means to hold institutions accountable and show unwavering support for child victims. The bill in its current form fails to do that.”
Union Leader May 3, 2022
Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, said she was disappointed the Senate has yet to endorse any changes.
“The Coalition is opposed to HB1677 in its current form, and we can’t recommend that victims use this process unless the bill is amended,” Grady Sexton said.
“We urge the Senate to expand the definition of abuse in this bill so that all victims who were sexually abused at YDC/Sununu Center are eligible to participate in this settlement process.”
Union Leader May 1, 2022
The average age for someone to disclose childhood sexual abuse is 52, said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, who has worked with victims for 20 years.
“That’s alarming,” she said.
Research shows that younger kids are less likely to disclose abuse, and males are more reluctant or take longer to make those disclosures, Grady Sexton said.
But as people get older, some barriers to disclosure may drop away. Offenders die, family dynamics change, people move.
WMUR April 29, 2022
Two bills passed by the New Hampshire Senate this month aim to help victims of human trafficking.
Currently, the state's human trafficking statute allows victims to get certain convictions brought against them vacated. One of the bills would take that a step further.
"And protects human trafficking victims from being prosecuted for something that they really had no choice," said Pamela Keilig, of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The other bill allows victims of human trafficking or sexual abuse to submit claims to the state's victim's compensation program at any time. Current state law has a two-year window.
"It's important that this program responds in a way that best meets victims' needs as they seek assistance from the state, so it codifies in law that they can receive claims from human trafficking victims," Keilig said.
New Hampshire Bulletin April 26, 2022
A bill to require personal finance literacy and sexual violence prevention instruction in New Hampshire schools is closer to becoming law after passing the Senate unanimously last week.
The bill would also mandate that schools include instruction in “prevention of sexual violence” – a move praised by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The bill replaces an earlier effort this session to include that instruction in a separate bill – House Bill 1533 – which was unanimously killed by the House in March.
“Sexual violation prevention education has an immediate effect on families,” said Pamela Keilig, the public policy specialist for the coalition, at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “Students learn about healthy relationships and unhealthy behaviors, such as grooming, through this curriculum.”