SNAP plans to create sexual abuse survivors support group in Blair County

By Lauren Hensley
March 10, 2016

[with video]

It's been one day since a sexual abuse victim's advocacy group held an open forum in Blair County. Now they are making plans to start a permanent support group in the area. SNAP, the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests has been vocally critical about the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, since the release of a gut-wrenching grand jury report.

Tuesday afternoon, supporters of SNAP held a rally on the lawn of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. This mini-protest was meant to inspire people to attend their open forum that was held Tuesday night.

"It was heartwarming to see that people feel like there was a place they could go," said Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest associate director.

Jones said nearly a dozen people showed up to the forum. SNAP respectfully requested that no media be present to allow a safe space for any potential victims to come forward. And they did. Later, 6News spoke with one survivor who said he was abused all throughout high school.

"You are a victim and there are other victims out there too, but you need to come out and talk about it. By talking about it and not holding it inside, you are going to other people you are going to help yourself," said one person who said they are a victim.

The session wasn't just for survivors; it was for supporters too. Jones says they all shared one common emotion.

"They all feel like they are helpless but want to do something to protect their kids," Jones said.

Now SNAP is looking to the future. They are planning to start a Blair County chapter of SNAP that would offer monthly support sessions. There is no word on when they hope to have this group up and running, but Jones said she is planning to return to Altoona. She is also encouraging people to continue to reach out to their organization.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.