Today there are children attending our county and private schools, local day care centers, gyms, sports fields and even area churches, who are suffering abuse. More often than you might imagine, these child victims live in your neighborhood, maybe even on your street, or even next door. The numbers are staggering… but unfortunately true.
Statistics tell us . . .
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys
will be victims of sexual abuse by the age of eighteen.
Davis House Child Advocacy Center (DHCAC) exists to help these children deal with the traumatic effects of sexual and/or severe physical abuse. As a child-focused center, we help them understand it’s not their fault. We help them begin the healing process and regain hope. We help rebuild their lives. We help them smile again.
Last year alone Davis House CAC provided direct services to 412 new children in our area. Yet the actual number of victims is estimated to be ten times that number or more. We can all find hope and promise in the fact that together we are having a huge impact, fostering a decline in abuse and re-victimization. Together, we are reaching victims with a promise that they are not alone and that there is hope and life after abuse. To predators, we are sending out a loud and clear message that abuse will not be tolerated in our communities. Abusers will be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions.
KNOW that child abuse exists in our community.
History and Background
The Williamson County Child Advocacy Center Task Force was formed in March 1999 under the leadership of Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General for the 21st Judicial District. The initial meeting was held on March 1, 1999. The Task Force mainly consisted of caring, concerned professionals who saw a need to improve services offered to child abuse victims in our community. A “Town Hall” meeting was held on April 29, 1999 that generated a great deal of community support for the Center. After a year and a half of planning, the Williamson County Child Advocacy Center (WCCAC) opened its doors in September 2000. The Center was designed to provide a safe, child-friendly place for sexually abused children to tell their story and where they, and their non-offending parents, could receive services to help them through the healing process. The WCCAC was developed according to National Children’s Alliance guidelines, which are considered best practices for Child Advocacy Centers across the country. In October of 2010, the Williamson County Child Advocacy Center became a fully accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance. Since inception, DHCAC has been providing comprehensive services such as forensic interviews, case management, victim advocacy, counseling, support groups, court support and victim court orientation (Kids Court) to child abuse victims and their Non-Offending family members. We also provide leadership and coordination as participants in the Child Protective Investigative Team (CPIT), a multi-disciplinary team consisting of individuals from local law enforcement, Office of the District Attorney General, Department of Children’s Services, DHCAC, juvenile court officers, medical personnel from Our Kids, and other collaborative partners. Additionally, DHCAC offers a comprehensive prevention program designed to educate and train adults in our community on how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Davis House Child Advocacy Center is a warm, welcoming place where abused children and their families in crisis can receive all of the help, support and services that they need. During our first year in existence, we saw 61 clients in Williamson County. We served 1,000 clients in our first eight years of operation. In the last three years alone, we have served over 2,000 clients, more than 1,200 of which were new child clients. Last fiscal year (2011-2012), we provided 1,985 services to 748 clients (420 of which were new child clients) in Hickman, Lewis, Perry and Williamson counties. Since inception, we have provided services to 2,802 children. All services are provided free of charge to the children and their families or non-offending caregivers.
In the years since Davis House Child Advocacy Center first opened its doors, we have continually expanded our services as our case load has increased. In 2006 we opened a satellite office in Hohenwald in Lewis County so that clients in that area could more easily access the services of the Child Advocacy Center. It is our goal to continue to expand services and to meet all of the needs of the children and their families in crisis. We look to increase our counseling schedule, improving the Center’s technology, and continuing to enhance the services that we provide. To better serve our mission of preventing child abuse, we offer a coordinated prevention program in all four of our service area counties. With the increasing demand for our services in the community and enhanced service offerings, we anticipate the need for a larger facility in Williamson County in the near future, an expanded Hohenwald office, and look to open an office in Hickman County. We have an outstanding Board of Directors, dedicated staff, and enthusiastic volunteers all deeply committed to, and passionate about, our mission. We look forward to continuing to positively impact the lives of children and families in need of our services.
Davis House – Name Change
The Board of Directors of the Williamson County Child Advocacy Center has approved a name change and will conduct business activities under the name Davis House Child Advocacy Center (DHCAC). The name change was adopted primarily due to the following reasons: 1) Williamson County Child Advocacy Center does not accurately reflect the service area of the Center, which includes Hickman, Lewis, Perry and Williamson counties (which collectively make up the 21st Judicial District of Tennessee) ; 2) opportunities for community engagement and local support are greater with a name that does not single out one service area; and 3) constituents incorrectly assumed the Center was an agency of county government.
The Center’s new name both reflects and honors the historical impact on the Center from its inception of Ronald L. Davis, former District Attorney General for the 21st Judicial District and former Chairman of the Board of the Center until his death in 2008; as well as the contribution to the Center’s success of his widow, former executive director and current board member, Brenda Davis. The Center implemented its name change beginning in March 2012 and completed the transition in July 2012. Historical references in this document will incorporate the prior name where applicable and reference the new name as appropriate. The Center will retain the former name as the organization’s official legal name.