The Sexual Assault Crisis Center presented Community Advocate Awards recently. Pictured from the left are Bill Gagne, award recipient; Bridget O’Rourke, coordinator of the Androscoggin Children’s Advocacy Center; and Phil Crowell, president of the center board of directors.

Sexual Assault Center honors 2 as Advocates

LEWISTON – The Sexual Assault Crisis Center has announced that the annual community advocate awards were presented to Bill Gagne, detective with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Dept., and Barbara Redmond with the Department of the Secretary of State. The awards were presented at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center annual meeting on Nov. 29 at Marco’s Restaurant.

The center has been serving people affected by sexual assault, sexual abuse or sexual harassment since 1984. The community advocate awards are presented annually to a person or persons who are not directly connected to the agency, but who have either worked to promote the agency in the community or whose efforts have improved the lives of victims of sexual assault.

Gagne has created close partnerships with the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in order to provide effective response to victims of sexual assault. Gagne makes sure that a center advocate is present when he interacts with a victim or their family and has also involved center advocates in community notification efforts when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood.

Gagne also participates in Project Response, a multi-disciplinary sexual assault response team, and has been instrumental in improving system response to sexual assault victims.

Gagne has also been a strong supporter of Androscoggin Children’s Advocacy Center, an affiliate of the center and the only center of its kind in Maine. The agency is a child-focused, community-oriented facility where professionals from different disciplines discuss the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases.

Children who disclose sexual or physical abuse can be interviewed at the center by a trained forensic interviewer, while interested parties observe via closed circuit television. Gagne has actively participated in the development of the Children’s Advocacy Center. In 2006 he brought several cases for interviews and follow up.

Redmond is a chief deputy in the Department of the Secretary of State, responsible for the address confidentiality program. The program allows victims of sexual assault to have a designated address when they have relocated or want to move to a location unknown to their perpetrator. It provides participants with a mail forwarding service, and the address has no connection to the participant’s actual address.

Redmond was given the award for her efforts in helping victims of sexual assault navigate the system and for going above and beyond her normal course of duties when helping a victim of sexual assault.

For more information about the Sexual Assault Crisis Center or its programs, call 784-5272 or visit the Web at www.sexualassaultcrisiscenter.org. For information about the Androscoggin Children’s Advocacy Center, call 784-0436 or visit www.acacme.org.


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