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Feb. 7 forum will foster discussion on child sexual abuse

February 01, 2012

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

The Syracuse University Senate Women’s Concerns Committee, in collaboration with Hendricks Chapel and the Advocacy Center at Syracuse University, is sponsoring a forum on child sexual abuse on Tuesday, Feb. 7, from 4-5:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel.

The goals of the forum are to inform the SU and greater Syracuse communities about child sexual abuse, to explore services and prevention efforts on and off campus, and to discuss what we can do as community members to prevent harm to adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

The forum is free and open to the public. Parking will be available at a reduced rate at the Irving Garage for $3.50. Attendees should let the parking attendant know that they are attending the forum to get this rate.

The forum will be facilitated by Thomas V. Wolfe, SU’s senior vice president and dean of student affairs. Panelists will discuss what is known about child sexual abuse, including prevalence; the impact on the targeted individual both as a child and an adult survivor; barriers to reporting for survivors of abuse; barriers to action for bystanders; advocacy services in the local community; what to do if considering reporting; and the process that begins when a report is made. Panelists from the Advocacy Center will discuss on-campus services, what students are doing to work toward sexual violence prevention, what it means to be an empowered bystander, and why students should get involved. The panel will also include an adult survivor of child sexual abuse, who will discuss what community members should do to provide support and assistance to those targeted by child sexual abuse.

"Syracuse University and the greater community are engaged in continuous learning. Together, we possess a rich array of resources that collaborate to raise awareness and offer support for those impacted by child sexual abuse. This forum is an illustration of our collective commitment to educate and extend care,” says Wolfe.

“The awareness of the issue of sexual abuse has been heightened in our community over the past few months. We hope this forum is the first of many opportunities for members of the Syracuse University and greater Syracuse community to come together to have conversations about sexual abuse, to learn more about how abuse affects individuals and communities, to understand how to prevent abuse and to support those members of our community who have been directly impacted by abuse,” says Janet Epstein, director of SU’s Advocacy Center. “By bringing together numerous experts on sexual abuse, we can greatly increase our understanding of this issue and begin conversations with one another about what additional steps we can take toward creating a supportive, caring and respectful community of empowered bystanders.”

Panelists from the Syracuse community will include Julie Cecile, executive director of the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center; Ellen Ford, clinical director at Vera House; Bryan Lendy, detective and sergeant with the Syracuse Police Department’s Abused Persons Unit; David Hubert, an adult survivor of child sexual abuse; and Allison Young, director of Sexual Abuse Services and Family Transition Services at Elmcrest Children’s Center. Young also provides treatment to adult sexual offenders with NuSTep Professional Counseling Services.

Panelists from the SU community will include Epstein; Sarah Ann “Sam” Myers, a junior at SU and Advocacy Center volunteer; and Eric McGriff, a first-year student at SU and Advocacy Center volunteer.

Following the panel discussion, those in attendance will be encouraged to ask questions of the panelists and to engage in discussion about the topics addressed.

Representatives from various offices on campus, including the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, Counseling Center, Office of Student Assistance, Department of Public Safety, Goldberg Marriage and Family Therapy Center and the Advocacy Center will be available to respond to questions about campus resources and response.

Written information on on-campus and off-campus resources will be available. Participants will be encouraged to engage in continued conversations about sexual abuse and to explore options for becoming empowered bystanders.

The Advocacy Center is the clearinghouse for questions, suggestions and information on other community programs. For more information, call 443-7273 or e-mail

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