Erin’s Law Summit comes to Fairmont

Ronnell Hunt, WBOY | September 11, 2019

“Educators, case workers and others from around the state took part in a two day summit to help better keep your children safe. 

The Power of Prevention Summit-Erin’s Law was a 2-day training provided by the West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services.” Read more…


Educators, professionals learn how to identify sexual abuse

Eddie Trizzino, Times West Virginian | September 11, 2019

“Sexual abuse is a concept hard to grasp for kids under a certain age.

Even those who have been victimized may have a hard time processing the actions, which is why there are specially trained professionals who take on these cases.

“A lot of people don’t know what to do,” said Carrie Linn, prevention educator with HOPE Inc. of Fairmont “It’s very important for prevention work to be able to see the signs and know the signs, and know what to do in recording and being able to help children; either prevent them from being abused or if they are, know what to do.” Read more…


“Dylan Rexrode was arrested after police say he was rough with his baby and hurt her.

"It's quite simply an epidemic, there's no other word for it," said Robert Peters, the President of the SHIELD Task Force in Marion County.

The task force's mission is to end child abuse in the state. He says he's dealt with hundreds of cases of child abuse and that it's a country-wide issue.” Read more…


Raising a SHIELD for child victims

Liberty Journal | June 12, 2019

“When Robert Peters (’15) chose a law school, he selected Liberty University because of its “missional emphasis.”

“That’s one of the rewarding aspects of Liberty Law; you meet people who are not just talented but really have a heart for people,” Peters said.

He became aware of the broader child abuse crisis through his work with Liberty Law Professor Basyle (Boz) Tchividjian, founder of GRACE — Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.” Read more…


West Virginia Center for Children's Justice hosts training in Martinsburg

Kelsie LeRose, The Journal | June 5, 2019

“The West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice, a statewide trauma-informed response to child maltreatment and children’s exposure to violence, recently hosted a Regional Crimes Against Children training in Martinsburg.

Andrea Darr, director of the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice, said Thursday’s training was geared toward multi-disciplinary teams, which include law enforcement, treatment providers, educators, courts and those in the medical field.” Read more…


Abuse survivor talks about finding her strength

Jennifer Abney, WOWK | April 11, 2019

(Features an interview with Amber Higgins, SHIELD board member and Educational Initiatives Liaison.)

“It’s a heart breaking statistic, 1 in 10 West Virginia kids will experience sexual abuse. But now, there’s a massive movement to help protect our children. I recently sat down with an abuse survivor who is finding her strength and hoping to empower others by sharing her story. Child abuse survivor and advocate, Amber Higgins, chooses to shine for kids so they know someone is fighting for them.

“I didn’t have a very close family life at home,” said Amber Higginns. “When I met them, they became like sisters to me and their dad became like a father to me.”

Amber Higgins could have never imagined what would happen next. Her dream family and home soon turned into a house of horrors.” Read more…


SHINE campaign aims to support child abuse survivors

Nicky Walters, WOWK | April 10, 2019

(Features an interview with Robert J. Peters, SHIELD President.)

“Child abuse is a crime that often leaves victims suffering in silence. But Wednesday dozens of people took a pledge to shine a light of hope into the darkness. 

The West Virginia Child Advocacy Network launched the SHINE Campaign. It is part of a national effort to build better support systems for child abuse survivors. 

“As we remove that stigma from abuse, as we eliminate that darkness, that secrecy, that silence that perpetrators exploit to take advantage of vulnerable children, we’ll remove that darkness and that stigma and we’ll empower children to heal and thrive and come forward and receive the help they need,” said Robert Peters, a child abuse survivor from Fairmont, WV. Peters said he hid his own abuse for years. He was inspired to come forward after witnessing others tell their stories.” Read more…


Complete SHIELD Program

TV19 | January 18, 2019

(View the full video of our Break the Chains events held on January 18, 2019.)


“The Marion County SHIELD Response Institute held an informational gathering and panel discussion Friday night in Fairmont about child abuse. 

The panel, titled “Break the Chains” was held at Trinity Assembly of God church, and had information tables from various groups, including Bikers Against Child Abuse, Fairmont Police, and others.” Read more…


S.H.I.E.L.D reporting initiative educated community of child abuse

WDTV | January 18, 2019

“See, hear, intervene, empower, learn, and defend.

These are the six principle that make up S.H.I.E.L.D, a reporting initiative that is helping to fight child abuse and human trafficking in Marion County.

And for their second annual forum, the initiative worked together with local organizations and law enforcement to help educate the community on how to combat and prevent child abuse.” Read more…


Group tries to raise awareness, raise “shield” on child sexual abuse in North Central West Virginia

Joe Nelson, WAJR | January 17, 2019

“A program designed to raise awareness for victims of child sexual abuse will hold a panel discussing the topic.

The SHIELD initiative will be holding a forum at the Trinity Assembly of God Fellowship Hall in Marion County this Friday. The idea of the forum is to discuss the exploitation of children through multiple aspects of abuse and how the community can play a role in stopping or preventing it.” Read more…


Marion County, WV, SHIELD Response Initiative to hold information event on child abuse, trafficking

John Mark Shaver, WVNews.com | January 16, 2019

“Hoping to drastically lower the amount of child abuse in Marion County, the SHIELD Response Initiative will hold an informational event this week to engage the public in noticing and reporting abuse, neglect and trafficking.

SHIELD, led by attorney Robert Peters, is holding the free event, titled “Break the Chains,” at the Trinity Assembly of God, and will tie in several key topics concerning child abuse into one helpful evening.” Read more…


Child abuse, human trafficking topic at upcoming panel discussion

Eric Hrin, Times West Virginian | January 12, 2019

“Child abuse in Marion County and the face human trafficking in West Virginia will be topics at an upcoming panel discussion.

 At 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 in the Trinity Assembly of God Fellowship Hall at 70 Maranatha Dr., Fairmont, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Reporting Initiative will host the event, called “Break the Chains: Child Abuse, Trafficking, and the Church.” Read more…


Panel of sexual abuse survivors, professionals to gather, educate public Jan. 18

Sarah Marino, The Dominion Post | January 11, 2019

“When Amber Higgins started talking about the sexual abuse she endured from ages 8-13, she didn’t think anyone believed her.

When she was 19, she finally found a police officer who did, and her abuser is in jail.

Higgins is part of an initiative trying to bring more awareness to sexual abuse.

S.H.I.E.L.D. (See, Hear, Intervene, Empower, Learn, Defend) Reporting Initiative is a Marion County initiative that will present a panel of survivors, professionals and pastors at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18 in the Trinity Assembly of God Fellowship Hall.” Read more…


Marion County accepts resignation of assistant prosecutor, brings new one on board

Eric Hrin, Times West Virginian | December 13, 2018

“The Marion County Commission welcomed a new county assistant prosecutor while saying farewell to a current one Wednesday.

At the commission meeting, the commissioners accepted the resignation of assistant prosecutor Robert J. Peters and hired Krista Marinaro as a new full-time assistant prosecutor, with benefits, effective Jan. 3.

When asked for comment, Peters said he has accepted a position as senior cyber and economic crime attorney at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), where his focus will be the development and nationwide presentation of prosecution and law enforcement training.” Read more…


Blue Sunday Day of Prayer to be held

Eric Hrin, Times West Virginian | April 28, 2018

“Marion County Blue Sunday Day of Prayer for abused children will take place on Sunday, April 29.

The See, Hear, Intervene, Empower, Learn, Defend (SHIELD) Reporting Initiative team encouraged area churches to participate.” Read more…


Marion County Child Advocacy Center works to bring justice, healing to victims

Tiffany Towner, Times West Virginian | January 14, 2018

“n 2017, the Marion County Child Advocacy Center conducted more than 120 forensic interviews with children, primarily from Marion County, who reported being abused. In 2016, the number was 186, and this year, Executive Director Michael Baker said they anticipate it will be around 180 forensic interviews conducted.

The Marion County CAC grew out of the Family Resource Network. In 2006, the organization was granted nonprofit status and was officially incorporated. Baker took over as executive director in 2007.” Read more…


SHIELD presentation encourages students to report sexual abuse

WDTV | November 15, 2017

“Sexual abuse has been dominating national headlines. On Wednesday, local students were given information on how to come forward if they're a victim.

The SHIELD initiative presentation was given to the entire student body at Fairmont Senior High School. SHIELD stands for see, hear, empower, learn and defend. Hosted by the Marion County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, the Marion County Child Advocacy Center, Marion County Family Resource Network, Fairmont Police, Bikers Against Child Abuse, the Marion County Sheriff's Department, local schools, churches and health agencies, speakers addressed sexual abuse and online safety.” Read more…


Failure to report child abuse major issue

Kaitlyn Neff, Times West Virginian | October 11, 2017

“The SHIELD Child Abuse Reporting Initiative led a community discussion panel Tuesday evening at the Fairmont State University Falcon Center to break the barrier on child-abuse reporting.

Abuse survivors, experts, local law enforcement and medical professionals presented information and answered questions for the sole purpose of informing the citizens of Marion County on the issue of child abuse, how to help and how to give the children a voice.” Read more…


Putting a stop to child sexual abuse

WDTV | August 16, 2017

“The Marion County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and local agencies are teaming up together to help victims of child sexual abuse.

"We still feel that there are a lot of cases that aren't getting to us. There are a lot of things we could do to improve reporting so our goal is to partner with schools, partner with churches, partner with nonprofit organizations to address those issues and to provide greater support for victims of abuse," said Prosecutor Robert Peters.” Read more…


Marion County Family Resource Network Holds Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic Meeting

Sarah Collins, WBOY | August 16, 2017

“The Marion County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has started reaching out to the community to try to bring awareness to the county’s growing child sexual abuse epidemic.

The Marion County Family Resource Network hosted a meeting Wednesday afternoon in Fairmont. Assistant Prosecutor Robert Peters talked with the group about plans to start a sexual abuse reporting initiative.” Read more…