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YWCA of the Mohawk Valley wants sexual abuse victims to know there is help out there

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - With all of the sexual abuse allegations - first out of Penn State and now Syracuse University, advocates for the victims of sexual abuse want people to know where to turn, if they want to talk.

The YWCA of the Mohawk Valley is the only state certified organization in the area for victims of sexual assault and Executive Director Natalie Brown wants people to know they can contact the YWCA for help, whether they are female or male.

Brown says the accusations out of the two big schools can be a trigger for victims all over the country.

"If you see someone else coming forward and talking about what has been done to them, other people realize - one, 'I'm not alone, and two - people do care and people want to help,'" Brown said.

Brown says victims have three options to turn for help at the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley.

First, there is a 24 hour confidential hotline.

Rosemary Vennero, the YWCA Non-residential Crisis Services Director, oversees the hotline.

"It's 24 hours a day, it's free and it's confidential," Vennero said. "The victims don't have to disclose to us who they are."

People can also talk to a counselor face to face, and all conversations are kept confidential.

Finally, there is an adult survivors group for victims of child sexual abuse who are now adults.

Vennero says it is an eight-week session, held once a week, with a counselor.

"It's a closed group, whoever starts the group, finished the group, so it's not just people walking in and out on them," Vennero said.

In Oneida County, the hotline number is (315) 797-7740 and in Herkimer County, the number is (315) 866-4120.

If you are in another county in our viewing area, you can call either of these numbers to get help as well.

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