Utica, NY (WIBX) - The YWCA of Mohawk Valley's Sexual Violence Services and Child Advocacy Center needs participants for two Herkimer County-based support groups being formed. Rosemary Vennero, Non-residential Crisis Service Director, says in light of the recent high-profile cases involving sexual abuse of children at Penn State and Syracuse University, the YWCA's goal is to assist those who were bused as youngsters, but never received counseling, and for caregivers of children who were victimized.

Vennero said, "Depending on where you are in your victimization, if you're an adult survivor of an adult assault, then we would have that group of people together, but the bigger group that we've had historically is what we call, Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. So, you're now an adult and maybe you've never dealt with this, or something such as the recent incidences that are happening, and you're reading about it in the newspaper with Penn State and Syracuse University, is bringing up the issues for you again, we would then provide the support group for you."

Vennero says the closed groups will meet once a week for approximately two hours, during an 8 to 12 week period. She says the free counseling is to provide a victim with a safe and confidential location, where they can talk about what happened to them, how it was handled, and how the abuse affected their lives. YWCA Mohawk Valley Therapist Ashley Piersall will facilitate the support groups. Piersall said, "It is important that people do not feel alone during the healing process and that they are able to learn from peers that have experienced similar situations."

To participate in a Herkimer County group or to attain more information, contact Piersall at apiersall@ywcamv.org or at 866-0748 ext. 304. The YWCA also offers domestic and sexual violence support groups in Oneida County. For more information, contact Deb Humphrey at dhumphrey@ywcamv.org, or at (315) 732-2159 ext. 242. For 24-hour help with sexual violence in Herkimer County, call (315) 866-4120. For 24-hour help with sexual or domestic violence in Oneida County, call (315) 797-7740.