Conference on Abuse and Sexual Assault on South Padre Island

Local News

It is the second day in which physicians, law enforcement agencies, and attorneys meet to discuss ways to prevent, detect and fight against child abuse.

An audio recording of a sexual assault report to police is played. An example brought on by experts from the University of Texas. It is a teaching tool for dozens at the 13th Annual Seminar in Forensic Sciences.

Sonja Eddleman, Child/Adult Abuse Response Team at Valley Baptist said, “Everybody is learning about how to encourage students to report how we can prevent sexual assault on campus and how we can help those students if they have been assaulted.”

According to Dr. Stanley Fisch, Chair of this seminar and a speaker himself trainings such as these are proving helpful.

Dr Stanley Fisch says, “Local police departments you know, their abilities to respond, have I think improved through training application of social sciences.”

But it hasn’t always been easy according to Sonja Eddleman with the Child to Adult Abuse Reponse Team at Valley Baptist. Eddleman sees more than 1,700 abuse cases. More than 650 being sexual assault.

Sonja Eddleman, “Before, a lot of adults did not believe it happened, and so we didn’t talk about it.

Eddleman says adults believed that students were simply trying to get back at a teacher or administrator, and the biggest misconception of all.

Sonja Eddleman, “You think you’re looking out for a stranger and we’re going to be able to pick out who that is and most likely they’re somewhere in your network.”

Adults are listening, law enforcement taking proper steps to help. Still, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Victims must speak out.

Sonja Eddleman, “There’s a lot of worries about well maybe I had something to drink or may be I had some drugs on board and they’re not going to believe me. We are going to believe you.”

The third and last day of that special seminar is Friday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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