"It is a requirement that all persons over the age of 18 who receive a disclosure from a credible witness of sexual assault or sexual abuse to disclose it," says Jefferson County assistant prosecuting attorney Kimberley Crockett. "And they have to disclose it no later than 48 hours after having received that disclosure."
If that happens in the Eastern Panhandle, it's likely a child may come to the Child Advocacy Center in Martinsburg, a true safe haven where children are interviewed by police. 128 cases of sex abuse were reported last year.
The proper steps if you know about a case of child sex abuse are to notify child protective services or State Police. But many cases go unreported. Sometimes those who can help don't learn about a crime until years later, when the child is grown.
"It runs the gamut and that's because it is so difficult for them to come forward and share their story," says Crockett.
That's why the state has launched a new campaign, "One With Courage" aimed at adults.
"Now we're stepping outside the box we're asking everyone to be a mandated reporter," says Delegate Tiffany Lawrence, who was a sponsor of the mandatory reporting bill.
To learn the signs of abuse and how you can help, visit wvcan.org.
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