The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

April 21, 2006

The Butterfly House

Fighting child sexual abuse

Thursday, April 20,2006 — In just six months of existence, the Butterfly House has interviewed 70 children for some form of abuse, 38 of those were for sexual abuse.

The Child Advocacy Center is under the corporate umbrella of Stanly Regional Medical Center and serves Stanly, Montgomery, Anson and Richmond counties.

Amy Calloway, a former nurse at SRMC, began planning for the Butterfly House in June, and her work as its program coordinator/forensic interviewer. Working closely with Calloway is Carrie Williams, who serves as a victim advocate.

The women began their work in earnest Sept. 28, and as of the end of March had dealt with physical abuse, often involving serious injury; psychological and emotional abuse, often involving total neglect; and sexual abuse, the most common scenario.

Calloway and Williams receive referrals from law enforcement, social services, extended family members, and occasionally from a pediatrician.

When the child comes in for an interview, Calloway takes the child to the “Special Talking Room” while Williams stays with the parents and makes an assessment of them.

The interview with the child will be digitally recorded as Calloway searches for the truth as to what happened while putting the child at ease, freeing them to share that truth.

“We want the children to tell us the truth without our having to ask them,” Calloway said. “We explain to the children that in the Talking Room, we always tell what is real, not pretend.”

After building rapport with the child by allowing the child to draw or play with Playdough, Calloway moves into a development and knowledge assessment of the child.

“Does the child understand terms like ‘on top of’ or ‘inside of?’ Does the child understand why they’re here? Those are the questions we want answered,” Calloway said.

Once she has a read on the child’s understanding, she will show the child pictures of the human body and ask the child to name the various parts.

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