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Oct 01, 2018| News , Press Release

Sept 28, 2018 | NBC5
Jennifer Sheahen

On the heels of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s hourslong testimony on Capitol Hill, the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services is set to hold a series of events.

“We can hear from victims and survivors about their experiences, both in and out of the criminal justice system. Get a sense of what’s working that we need to do more of and we get a sense of what the challenges are and what we need to change,” Cara Cookson, from the center, said.

Cookson said Ford’s willingness to come forward will affect survivors across Vermont.

“We owe it to people who experience trauma to start by listening, and that was a big part of what happened yesterday,” Cookson said.

On Thursday at a rally supporting Ford, sexual assault survivors shared their stories, some dating back decades.

“Long ago, there was so much silence, stigma and shame around sexual violence and barely any services in the early ’80s really. So, it doesn’t surprise me at all that, as a teenager in the early ’80s this was something you didn’t talk about. That’s changing now,” Cathleen Barkley, from Hope Works, said.

Cookson said Ford’s very public testimony is nowhere near what crime victims will experience, if they decide to come forward.

“All of our counties are served by special investigative units that are not in police departments. They are special places where there are trained investigators,” Cookson said.

The events are geared to help the criminal justice system better handle sensitive cases.

“We also provide victim advocates, social workers and a whole array of services to support people through the process,” Cookson said.

These events will occur at the following dates and locations:

  • Brattleboro Union High School, Brattleboro, Monday, Oct. 15, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • St. Johnsbury Welcome Center, St. Johnsbury, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Grand Isle Courthouse, North Hero, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Vermonters can also participate by sending stories and comments to

Click here to read the link on the NBC5 website


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