Last week, Thurmond Kirchner and Timbes Law Firm sponsored a fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County.
Television personality, criminal investigator and victim rights advocate, John Walsh was the speaker for a dinner. His goal is to heighten awareness and prevention of child abuse. Walsh is the former host of “America’s Most Wanted,” which aired on the Fox television network for more than 20 years. Since 2014, Walsh has been the host of “The Hunt with John Walsh” on CNN, and like “America’s Most Wanted,” its mission is to catch the criminals.
In 1981, Walsh’s 6-year-old son, Adam, was abducted at a Florida mall. Walsh described in detail to the Advocacy Center fundraiser’s audience how horrifying the experience was for him and his wife, Reve, and how difficult it was to get help from law enforcement officials and the media. As a result of that tragedy, Walsh became an anti-crime activist and victim rights advocate. Walsh discovered that child abuse was a subject that people didn’t want to discuss.
Along with his wife, Walsh pushed successfully for the passage of national legislation to make efforts to find missing children more effective. He also was instrumental in the founding of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Aiken County, founded in 2005, provides a safe local environment and supportive services which promote healing to abused children and their families through intervention, treatment and prevention. In keeping with the vision of the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, the CAC brings together the many different agencies that have a role in preventing, identifying, treating, and prosecuting child abuse cases. In Aiken County, Walsh said, the Advocacy Center assisted 55 victims of child abuse in the month of February.
Gayle Lofgren, executive director of CAC, indicated that one of the most critical messages she wants Aiken citizens to hear is that just making that call can be life-changing to a child. “We
have the multidisciplinary team and the resources to assist in the investigation of allegations. No
one should feel it is their duty to collect concrete evidence of abuse – just make the call to those trained to do that. Reports made in good faith have no negative repercussions. Persons reporting may remain anonymous if desired. Statistics in Aiken County show that 90-98% of children are abused by someone known to the child. Please, make the call if you are concerned!”
We had a wonderful evening and the dinner raised $54,000 for the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County!