Majority of Healing Hearts cases are minors - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Majority of Healing Hearts cases are minors

by Joan Aguon Charfauros

Guam - Healing Hearts is Guam's only rape crisis center and was created by law back in 1993. Acting program manager Leticia Piper said, "We've had a few homes, we had a modular home when it was first created, then we moved into the Department of Mental Health's main facility and just recently in April 2009 we moved into our new facility."

There are two components to the services that the center provides - 1) crisis intervention which includes advocacy and support referral services and 2) the clinical services of a medical-legal examination in a case where a survivor wishes to report an assault to law enforcement officials. A survivor is not required to report the incident to law enforcement authorities in order to receive advocacy, support and referral services.

Piper added, "A majority services are directed toward minor victims. We see about 80-85% of our population, which are children." Education and public awareness are the best ways to helping the women, children and men who have survived sexual assault. Healing Hearts is involved with outreach programs in all grade levels in the public and private schools and the community at large to educate on personal body safety for oneself and others.

"We do get referrals through Child Protective Services, but we can be contact directly if somebody just needs to know who they are supposed to call or what services we could provide to them they can call us directly and we can answer," she said.

If you are a survivor of sexual assault regardless of when it occurred or you find yourself facing issues related to the assault, you can call Healing Hearts at 647-5351/8833. The phone lines are manned 24-hours a day by trained staff.

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