News 12 visits Spirit of Rockland center for abuse victims

News 12 took an inside look into the Spirit of Rockland, a center that provides abuse victims with access to everything from police to social

Organizers say that victims are not greeted by

Organizers say that victims are not greeted by police officers, but by a wagging golden retriever named Lillly, who has an almost magical way of consoling the physically and sexually abused. (Credit: News 12 )

ROCKLAND - News 12 took an inside look into the Spirit of Rockland, a center that provides abuse victims with access to everything from police to social workers to housing.

Organizers say that victims are not greeted by police officers, but by a wagging golden retriever named Lilly, who has an almost magical way of consoling the physically and sexually abused.

"I recently had a case where a young child didn't want to speak to us, but she said she would speak to Lilly," said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Parietti. "So she laid on the floor and told Lilly the story."

Doctors, detectives and lawyers were able to watch the girl tell her story to Lilly on closed-circuit television in the room next door.

The center also provides colorful, comforting rooms filled with toys and flowers to victims so they can be more at ease when talking about their painful past.

In the past, victims would have to relive and retell their horrific stories of abuse in police precincts up to 20 times before going to trial.

The "Spirit of Rockland" opened under Rockland District Attorney Tom Zugibe in 2011. Everything from the door knobs to the sheet rock was donated by private citizens across the Hudson Valley.

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