Foothills Child Advocacy Center News Release

Six local nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving victims of abuse have joined together to launch Words Hurt, Too, a campaign to increase awareness of the impact of emotional abuse in the courts and community. This effort has been made possible by the generous support of concerned individuals.

The six organizations are dedicated to serving child and/or adult victims of all types of abuse in the geographical area of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and surrounding counties. They include: Foothills Child Advocacy Center; Piedmont Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA); ReadyKids; Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA); Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE); and The Women's Initiative.

Representatives from the organizations will present a panel discussion, “Words Hurt, Too: The Impact of Emotional Abuse” from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, April 30, at CitySpace, 100 5th St NE, Charlottesville, for all interested members of the public. Topics of discussion will include: what emotional abuse is; the signs of emotional abuse; the ways in which emotional abuse affects adults and children; and the resources each organization offers to help victims of abuse. Registration is required at .

Emotional abuse is also referred to as mental or psychological abuse and happens to both adults and children. The impact of emotional abuse may affect a person throughout their lifetime, especially if they do not receive help.

The results of the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey suggested that “nearly half of all adult women and men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” According to the American Psychological Association, a recent study has shown that “Children who had been psychologically abused suffered from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, symptoms of post-traumatic stress and suicidality at the same rate and, in some cases, at a greater rate than children who were physically or sexually abused.”

The campaign focuses on the slogan, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me – NOT!” A website,, has been developed to serve as a clearinghouse of available information and resources.

For more information about the Word Hurts, Too, effort please contact Cathee Johnson Phillips, executive director of Foothills Child Advocacy Center, via e-mail at or phone at 434-971-7233, ext. 4.

About the Members of the Collaborative

Foothills Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit, accredited agency designed to provide a coordinated system of effective response and intervention to children who have been victimized. Foothills works to minimize trauma, promote healing, and ensure child safety. For more information, contact Cathee Johnson Phillips, executive director,

Piedmont CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) recruits, screens, trains, supervises, and supports volunteers who are appointed to advocate for abused and neglected children and youth in the court system. For more information, contact Alicia L Lenahan, president and CEO,

ReadyKids provides trauma-informed mental health counseling to child victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect. For more information, contact Shannon Noe, Youth Counseling Program Manager,

Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) provides trauma-informed mental health counseling and advocacy for child and adult victims of sexual abuse. SARA also provides primary prevention education at area schools. For more information, contact Becky Weybright, executive director,

Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE) helps families, many of whom have experienced domestic violence and abuse. Services include a 24-hour hotline, shelter, counseling, case management, and more. For more information, contact Cartie Lominack, executive director,

The Women's Initiative provides mental health counseling to adults, many of whom have been victims of abuse as children and/or adults. Services include individual counseling, support groups, workshops and social support, and a walk-in wellness clinic. For more information, contact Elizabeth Irvin, executive director,