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The shocking news of 82 indictments against two former guards at the Youth Development Center, now known as the Sununu Youth Detention Center, is a reminder that we must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure that those in positions of authority to do not abuse their power and cause devastating harm to the children entrusted in their care. We stand with these young victims and their families, and would like to remind all Granite Staters they’re not alone. When violence and abuse happen in our communities, we are all impacted.
We know that most children ordered to youth detentions centers have experienced trauma in their childhood, and that the more trauma a child experiences, the more vulnerable they become to future victimization. Perpetrators often target victims who have already been groomed by abusers, or who they think are unlikely to be believed if they disclose the abuse. When even one brave survivor comes forward to report abuse, it can give other victims the courage to break their silence. It is critical that people know that assistance and support is always available.
“The children entrusted in the care of the Sununu Youth Services Center are among the most vulnerable populations in the State of New Hampshire, and we are deeply disturbed by these indictments. We stand with the brave survivors and their families, and we look forward to working with policymakers to ensure that children who are in the care of the State of New Hampshire are safe and free from abuse, and that true systemic change is brought about to ensure the well-being and protection of children are prioritized. Intervening and holding offenders and institutions accountable is paramount in our fight to end child abuse and sexual violence.” – Amanda Grady Sexton Director of Public Affairs, NHCADSV.
Crisis center advocates are available across NH to provide free and confidential support to anyone impacted by domestic and sexual violence. Crisis center services are available to anyone who has experienced or witnessed abuse, or who is looking to find ways to support someone who has. Crisis centers can provide individual support; support groups; assistance in reporting abuse; help navigating the legal system; court and hospital accompaniment; housing assistance; and referrals for local services including mental health and substance abuse treatment. It is important to remember you do not need to be in crisis, nor do you need to be a victim, to access crisis center services. To speak with an advocate, please call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-866-644-3574 or the statewide sexual assault hotline at 1-800-277-5570 or find the crisis center nearest you at https://www.nhcadsv.org/member-programs.html.
Any person with information regarding criminal conduct at the YDC/Sununu Center is also urged to contact Investigator James Kinney at the Attorney General’s Office at (603) 271-1258 or email: email@example.com.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is a statewide network of 13 independent member programs committed to ending sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking, through direct services to victims, community education, and public policy advocacy. The NHCADSV and its 13 member programs do not discriminate based on gender, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental, or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation. For more information visit www.nhcadsv.org.