For children who are victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, Susie’s Place provides a starting point for justice and healing.
Law Enforcement, the Department of Child Services, advocates and many others fight for the well-being of these children. “If I’m not successful, if my officers are not successful then that child may be put back in that environment or maybe continue to be abused,” said Sgt. Jeff Hearon with Indiana State Police.
Many of the young crime victims end up at the child advocacy center Susie’s Place in Avon. The center helps law enforcement gather testimony from the victims.
“There’s a lot of kids that you just don’t want to forget about because they really do leave something with you when they’re gone,” said Emily Perry, co-founder of Susie’s Place.
The cases are compelling and often heartbreaking. Sgt. Hearon recalls a particular case. “The child was at school. I believe she was about seven or eight years old. She didn’t want to go home. She was acting out in class and the teacher had sent her down to the counselor to have a conversation with the counselor about why she didn’t want to go home. Her behavior was disruptive.”
Hearon and a Department of Child Services worker rushed to the child’s home. They were able to save the girl before her male babysitter sexually abused her one more time.
When they put her in the back of squad car, Hearon remembers “She’s singing. She’s a happy kid in the back seat of the car.”