HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Jerry Sandusky's trial came to a close, but a local child advocacy groups said the issue of child sexual abuse remains in the forefront.
The National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville helps young victims of sexual abuse.
NCAC director Chris Newlin said the Sandusky verdict may bring justice but support for his victims and many others must continue.
Newlin said the more people talk about the issue, the less of a social stigma it becomes. His organization encourages child abuse victims to come forward with their experience and face the issue with open dialogue.
Newlin said opening up about abuse however, is difficult among many victims because of the stigma associated with it.
He said more credibility should be given to young sex abuse victims because it takes much for them to come forward with it in the first place.
"Sometimes children don't tell right away because they waited awhile," said Newlin. "They didn't tell right away, and they're afraid they might be in trouble for not having told right away."
He said victims of child abuse do not have to cope with it alone. The NCAC offers help for free.
It is one of the first groups in the nation to use a multidisciplinary model for sex abuse investigations. This means they involve multiple groups - police, doctors, and counselors - to give the best attention to young victims.
NCAC also offers prevention programs for parents. It also provides resources for families to discuss sexual abuse with children.
Newlin said 80 percent of child abuse is kept secret until adulthood. He encourages young victims to report sex abuse as soon as it happens so they can get help right away.
"While it can be very traumatic and it could cause significant issues, we have great treatments now that are available that we could provide evidence-based practice that helps kids get better," he said.