Statistics Illustrate the Problem:
1 in 4 girls
1 in 6 boys
Will Be Victims of Sexual Abuse
by the time they reach age 18
Statistics also tell us child abuse is, for the most part, a hidden crime with only 12% of the actual number of incidents being reported to authorities. Unthinkable, uncomfortable to talk about, embarassing, cloaked in misdirected guilt, shame and manipulation. Child abuse knows no social and/or economic barriers and with close to 65,000 children in the Davis House four-county service area, we must all wake up to the reality that child abuse moves through virtually all corners of our community. Left unchecked, child abuse leads to more abuse, delinquent behaviors, alcohol and drug use, suicide, emotional disorders and early pregnancy.
These are our children!
The GOOD NEWS is that since the inception of our Child Advocacy Center we have begun to pull back the curtain of child abuse, exposing predators, bringing hope to victims, and restoring the lives of impacted children and families.
The purpose of the Davis House Child Advocacy Center is to combat child abuse by coordinating services to children and their families in crisis and providing community education focused on early intervention.
Together we are taking action, addressing the problem with increasing effectiveness!
*748 new clients (420 of which were children) last year received direct services from Davis House Child Advocacy Center that begins the healing process in a service area including Hickman, Lewis, Perry, and Williamson counties.
*Forensic Interviews start the investigative process for all allegations of severe physical and/or sexual abuse in children under the age of 18. We run full schedules daily to help these children, employing three trained forensic interviewers and working with local law enforcement and Department of Children’s Services personnel.
*Our Child and Family Advocates counsel non-offending parent(s) and/or caregivers in compensation services, counseling and other methods in which we walk these offended parties through the legal and the healing process.
*Our counseling program works with victimized children to let them know it’s not their fault; we help rebuild their lives, and we help them heal and break the cycle. WE HELP THEM SMILE AGAIN!
*Our court orientation program and victim trial support services help minimize the traumatic effects of testifying in criminal or other legal proceedings.
*Our education program trains individuals in the community to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
We provide over 1,900 direct and ancillary services to children and families in crisis annually.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT. JOIN US TODAY!
WARNING SIGNS OF POSSIBLE ABUSE
Educate yourself to the signs of child abuse & be able to talk about it with others. There are indicators of possible childhood abuse, but most importantly trust your instincts. If you suspect abuse, contact authorities… you do not need proof.
* Changes in Behavior – scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn, aggressive, etc.
* Displaying Earlier Behaviors – thumb sucking, bed wetting, fear of dark, etc.
* Fear of Going Places – home, school, gym, etc.
* Unexplained Injuries – visible physical indicators with unconvincing explanations
* Dramatic Change In Eating – weight loss or gain
* Changes in Sleeping – tired, nightmares, inability to fall asleep
* Changes at School – dropping grades, excessive absences
* Neglect in Personal Care – dirty, unkept, wrong clothing for season
* High Risk Behavior – drug/alcohol use, carrying items for protection
* Sexual Behavior – explicit, graphic language, overly sexual
If a child comes to you;
remain calm panic or overreact
believe the child press the child to talk
show concern/interest confront the offender
allow the child to talk make promises beyond your control
reassure the child minimize their feelings or situation
contact authorities overwhelm with questions
Under Tennessee Law you are obligated to report suspected child abuse.
If a child is in immediate danger call 911
DHCAC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to combat child abuse by coordinating services to children and their families in crisis and providing community education focused on prevention and early intervention. We accomplish the community education portion of our mission through our Prevention Program, consisting primarily of the Stewards of Children training, the Prevent Now program, and Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse. Adults need to be trained to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, therefore our prevention program is focused on training for school systems and teachers, churches, day care workers, volunteers and staff employed by child and youth serving organizations, corporations, parents, and the general public. DHCAC is currently providing Stewards of Children training for Williamson County Schools and for the Franklin Special School District. The Stewards of Children program is both research-based and award winning curriculum. Darkness to Light, the company that produces the program, has participated in several multi-year studies that have consistently shown that the Stewards of Children program increases knowledge, improves attitudes and changes participant’s behavior over the long-term in relation to child sexual abuse. Evidence also indicates that for every one person trained, ten children are better able to be protected. Also, the National Crime Prevention Council named Stewards of Children the Crime Prevention Program of the Year for 2007.
Davis House Child Advocacy Center started with one authorized facilitator two years ago and now has five authorized facilitators for Stewards of Children, training hundreds of individuals in our four county service area including Hickman, Lewis, Perry, and Williamson counties. In 2010, the Child Advocacy Center also launched a Prevent Now Initiative with the goal to train over 6,500 individuals in Stewards of Children program in the next five years. Prevent Now and Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse are training programs designed to provide preliminary or initial training that serves as a conduit to the more intensive and lengthy Stewards of Children. Collectively, these programs guide organizations and individuals through the development of sexual abuse prevention policies and procedures, steps to prevention and recognition, and action activities aimed at appropriate reaction and early intervention. All programs are important steps toward creating environments that are safe for children, and critical for maintaining a healthy and safe community.