Advocacy center helps child victims to heal
Updated: 08/27/2012 06:03 PM
By: Ed Scannell
MOCKSVILLE, N.C. -- A children's advocacy center is bringing hope and healing to victims of child abuse in four Triad counties.
For nearly two years, The Dragonfly House has teamed psychological, medical and law enforcement investigators in a single location and ensuring that victims receive the range of treatment they need and that prosecutions of perpetrators are swift.
The Dragonfly House opened its doors in Oct. 2010 to offer help and hope to victims of child abuse in a child-friendly atmosphere. It's reach extends to Davidson, Surry and Yadkin counties.
"We provide experts in the field of forensic interviewing and medical examinations,” said Brandi Reagan, the center's director. “We also have therapists who are trained in child trauma."
Before Dragonfly House, a child might have to be interviewed two or more times by investigators in multiple locations. Here a child can be seen by a doctor trained to recognize abuse and interviewed by a law enforcement specialist.
"And there are certain protocols that you would follow and that way the child doesn't have to talk to multiple people about what's going on," said forensic interviewer Kim Palmer.
More than 80 percent of the children are victims of sexual abuse. The center's goal is to help the child as soon as possible.
"And that's really important because the longer a child has to wait before the appointment the longer they have to wait to tell their story, the longer they have to wait to have the exam to make sure that everything's okay."
The single interview also helps ensure a speedy and appropriate legal response.
"It can go in our file. It go in social services file,” said J.D. Hartman with the Davie County Sheriff's Office. “The district attorney has a copy of that that they can show to the defense. It can be released if we go to trial."
To date, the center has served 555 children, but its impact is even more far-reaching.
"It's easy to count the children who pass through our doors, but it's not as easy to recognize how many families how many lives we touch with our services," said board member Linda Sechrist.
The Dragonfly House is always in need of donations including child snacks, juices, household items and financial assistance. The center can be contacted at (336)753-6155.
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