POSTED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 7:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 7:39pm
EDINBURG, TX (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today met with Victoria Medina, executive director for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo County, to tour Estrella’s House in Edinburg and discuss the facility’s continued efforts to help young victims of sexual abuse.
Established in 2000 to serve Hidalgo and Starr counties, Estrella’s House is a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) that provides a safe haven where child abuse victims can report their traumatic experiences and encounter professionals who give them specialized medical and mental health services, counseling to address their trauma and other assistance they need to recover. After touring the CAC, Attorney General Abbott and Medina met with Estrella’s House staff to discuss the center’s programs and future challenges.
Estrella’s House operates under Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc., a network of 68 local centers throughout the state committed to helping the youngest survivors of crime. Local CAC offices in cities across Texas offer a safe, nonthreatening environment that is designed help young victims tell their difficult stories to specially trained professionals. As a result, child abuse victims are only subjected to a single interview session where all the officials who need to participate – law enforcement, child protection officers, medical professionals, prosecutors and others – obtain the information they need to protect the victim and hold the abuser accountable. By allowing children to tell their story one time in one location, CACs spare victims the pain of re-living the agony and trauma of the crimes committed against them.
The Office of the Attorney General administers several victim assistance grant programs using monies from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. One of those programs is called OVAG, which stands for Other Victim Assistance Grants. The CVC Fund has awarded Estrella’s House CAC $471,126.50 in OVAG since the center was founded in 2000.