What to Expect at Dawson Place
Are you being abused in any way, including threatened with abuse? Are you a parent or guardian of an abused child? Contact Dawson Place – we are here to help. Upon arrival you will be greeted in a child friendly environment and treated in a respectful manner. Your safety and privacy are our top priorities.
You can expect a friendly welcome and greeting. The front desk will direct you to your appointment and needed services.
Our waiting areas are safe, clean, and child friendly with fantastical murals on the walls.
While at Dawson Place our team will help you with a safety plan.
We make every possible effort to protect each child’s privacy while they are at Dawson Place. All conversations take place with the highest degree of confidentiality.
Directed to Appropriate Service
We provide victim advocacy services for child victims and their non-offending family members and caregivers through a network of specialists and advocates at no cost to the families.
What are the types of child abuse?
There are several types of child abuse including neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence, witness to a violent crime, and medical and educational neglect. Children that experience any form of abuse can find safety, justice, and healing here at Dawson Place.
What can I do to help my child disclose abuse?
If a child discloses abuse to you, the most important step for the adult is to express belief in the child, support, and protection of the child. It is important to remember that it is not your job as the adult to investigate abuse. At Dawson Place, we have professionals whose job it is to talk with children about these situations and investigate the abuse. It is however important to document the disclosure as your child stated it and to try and remember the context in which the child brought it up to you and then immediately report to Law Enforcement and Child Protection.
How should I ask my child about abuse?
If you have an indication that your child has been abused, it is often more appropriate and helpful to give your child information instead of asking them a direct question. You may tell your child that as their parent it is your job to keep them safe and that if someone or something ever scared them or worried them they should tell you. It helps to give examples to your child examples of what this might look like: a bigger kids at school bullying them, someone encouraging them to take something, someone trying to touch their private parts or make them touch another on their private parts, someone asking a child to keep a secret or not to tell. We also recommend letting your child know that if any of these things has happened, they should tell you as their parent, so you can make it stop. It is important to remember, if your child discloses abuse it is not your job to ask further questions or investigate. A parent’s job is to listen, express belief in the child, provide safety, and take them to the proper places for them to receive help like Dawson Place.
What do I say if my child discloses abuse?
If a child discloses abuse to you, first assure your child that they are not in trouble and that you will do your best to keep them safe. Do not question your child about the abuse, but do encourage them to always tell the truth. After disclosure, pay close attention to their feelings, provide comfort, and reach out to the proper resources and authorities to help your child. Make sure to document as much as possible.
Can a child consent to having sex with an adult or much older child?
A child cannot provide consent to having sex in any circumstance. Children are not mature enough to make an informed decision for themselves regarding sex.
Wouldn’t my child be fearful of their offender if they have been sexually abused?
In many situations, this is not the case. People who sexually abuse children want to continue their relationship with the child, so they attempt to make the sexual behaviors seem okay. They often label the relationship as “special” and give the child gifts and other acts of love, sometimes known as “grooming.” Sexual offenders commonly appear as loving adults in or close to the child’s family that provide a positive and supportive role in a child’s life. This person may have a close relationship with the parent confusing the child even more.
Why wouldn’t my child tell me?
There are several reasons why a child may not disclose abuse during childhood. Often, an abuser will threaten the child or the child’s loved ones with harm if they disclose the abuse. In many cases, even if threats are not made, children still feel bad things may happen. They may feel responsible for the abuse or that no one will believe them if they tell. In young children, it is common form them to not know that physical and sexual abuse are wrong.
Why should my child talk about their abuse?
Studies show that not talking about abuse can cause worsened emotional and behavioral difficulties in life. While it may be an uncomfortable topic to discuss for adults, openly talking about the abuse lets children know it is not their fault and that it is okay to tell the adults in their life. Talking about abuse is critical to allowing a child to have a positive future. If your child brings up the topic, follow their lead and be a good listener.
My significant other hurt me in front of my child, does this effect my child?
If a child observes domestic violence, it teaches the child that it okay to be hit or abused by others or to hit others. As a parent, it is your role to teach a child that violence to them or to others is never acceptable.
Will my child testify in court?
We work to reduce the emotional trauma a child experiences during their time at Dawson Place and through the prosecution. It is possible that your child may need to testify in court. Our advocates work with the children and their families to prepare them for this day, and many children find healing in having their day in court to tell their story.
What do I tell my child about Dawson Place?
Before coming to Dawson Place, you should inform your child that they are going to a special place where kids can go to talk about their experiences. You should let them know that many kids come here every week, so they know that they are not alone, and that it is our job to help kids feel better. Encourage them to tell us everything about their experience. Most importantly, remind your child they are not in trouble, we are here to help, and it is important to the truth about what happened to them.
Who will my child talk to?
There are a number of people your child may talk to at Dawson Place. They will be able to speak with one of our advocates who help them feel safe and comfortable here, our child interview specialists who are trained to help kids disclose abuse while reducing trauma, our trained nurses and clinicians, and our therapists who see children for mental health assessments and on-going therapy.
How much will it cost me?
IF ABUSE IS HAPPENING, DON’T WAIT ANY LONGER
Contact Dawson Place to transform hurt to hope and receive the services you need.