Mary Whittier shares some startling statistics about the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the US, what we need to understand and actions we can take to do something about it.
Mary E. Whittier is the Founding Executive Director for Bivona Child Advocacy Center (Bivona), which is a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive services to children suspected of being sexually or physically abused. Bivona partners with Child Protective Services, law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office, Monroe County Law Department, RESTORE Sexual Assault Services, Linden Oaks Specialized Assessment and Treatment Services, Catholic Family Center, and the Referral and Evaluation of Abused Children (REACH) Program at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong. Bivona Child Advocacy Center evaluated over 1,900 children in 2015 and over 16,000 children since its inception on August 1, 2004. Ms. Whittier has worked with children and families for over 30 years and her professional background includes working as a teacher’s assistant for Hillside Children’s Center, as a Child Protective Services caseworker, and as a social worker for Golisano Children’s Hospital, which included being the forensic interviewer and administrator for the REACH Program. She spearheaded the development and formation of Bivona in 2001. She has testified as an expert in court and conducted numerous presentations on child abuse, specifically sexual abuse. She sat on the Advisory Board for NCMEC/NY Branch for 2 years and volunteered there for over 22 years. Ms. Whittier was on the Board of the NYS Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance (NYSCA) from 2000-2005 and rejoined the Board in 2010. She is currently a Board member of the Rochester Police Foundation, and is a member of the Council of Agency Executives (COAE). She was awarded Social Worker of the Year award for Program Innovation in 2000, was the recipient of the Human Services Worker of the Year Award for the private sector in 2006, was the first female recipient of the Carl S. Hallauer award in 2008, was nominated for the ATHENA Award in 2011, was awarded the Edward Mott Moore award from the medical community in 2013, named as a 2014 Women of Distinction by the NYS Senate, and will be the 2017 recipient of the Chief Judge Judith Kaye Award. Ms. Whittier holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Buffalo and an undergraduate degree in Social Work from Buffalo State College. She is married with two children.