‘There’s no time limit:’ CMPD, Charlotte advocacy organizations encourage sexual assault victims to come forward
Organizations are sharing their resources for victims and survivors of abuse.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A former professional skateboarder is facing several sexual abuse charges against minors, while police and advocacy organizations are encouraging victims to share their stories.
A Charlotte-area man was arrested again this week in relation to sexual abuse allegations dating back to 1993.
Wayne “Ray” Goff was arrested on May 2 at his home by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) and Mount Holly Police.
Goff was arrested on March 21 by CMPD and charged with four counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of sex offense with a child regarding the 1994 sexual assault of a 13-year-old.
“We believe that there are truly more victims out there, victims of Ray Goff,” CMPD Detective Misty James said.
Experts say it is not uncommon for child sexual assault victims to go long periods of time without reporting. This is known as delayed disclosure and can be brought on by feelings of doubt, guilt and fear.
“We find this to be particularly true with male victims which is the case in the situation here,” Director of Education and Community Engagement at Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, Shawna Pagano, said. “That delayed disclosure as we call it is very common for many reasons.”
Pat’s Place provides several services for children and teenagers between the ages of three and 15, including forensic interviews, family advocacy, mental health services and medical evaluations.
Research shows that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused by the age of 18.
“There’s no case too old to investigate with a juvenile victim,” Detective James said. “Juvenile sexual assault victims often don’t come forward.”
Safe Alliance in Charlotte provides “hope and healing” to people affected by domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“There’s no time limit. Whether it happened today or twenty years ago - we are here for survivors,” Sexual Assault Response Team Coordinator at Safe Alliance, Jessica Willard, said. “We believe them and we support them in whatever stage of their journey that they’re at.”
Their resources include the confidential, free 24/7 hotline, known as the Greater Charlotte Hope Hotline. It is available in both English and Spanish. Safe Alliance also offers individual and group counseling, crisis assistance, help with legal advocacy, hospital accompaniment and more.
The Hotline number is 980-771-HOPE (980-771-4673).
“Anyone who needs supports or needs someone to talk to, someone to support them, can reach us anytime and one of our hotline advocates is there to take their call and walk them through their healing journey,” Willard said.
Pat’s Place also offers training on how to identify the signs of abuse and how to report it.
“Most of the time children are abused by someone that they know and trust and so given that information it’s very important we start having conversations about sexual abuse, body safety, and healthy touch at very young ages,” Pagano said.
Experts also want you to know that if you are over the age of 18, you are what’s called a ‘mandated reporter,’ and by law, you are required to report any suspicions of child abuse.
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