NEWARK - April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and there is one place in Newark that serves as advocates for the state’s youngest victims.
Wynona’s House was founded 15 years ago by the late Sen. Wynona Lipman. It serves hundreds of sexually or physically abused and neglected children across Essex County.
“We have a very comprehensive team, every single professional that works with special victims, working together collaboratively,” says Evelyn Mejil, who currently runs Wynona’s House.
Law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, and medical and mental health professionals are all located under one roof to make ongoing counseling and healing as easy a process as possible for the children abused.
“We have to realize that when a child is victimized, their innocence is stolen,” says Mejil. “We want to make sure we can connect them back to innocence. We want to let them know it’s not their fault.”
A victim of child abuse, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke to News 12 New Jersey about her experience at the center.
“I think the support and the community everyone here brings gives me strength,” she says.
Wynona's House sees about 700 cases of abuse and neglect each year. There are over 10,000 cases of abuse in Essex County alone a year.
More information about Wynona’s House can be found at the center’s website.