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Victim Services Center - A Community Effort

October 11, 2019

 

The Fourteenth Solicitor's Office hosted a grand opening for the Justice Institute/Victim Services Center on Oct. 10, 2019. Here is the transcript of what Hopeful Horizons' CEO, Kristin Dubrowski, said as she addressed the audience.

 

 

Hello, I’m Kristin Dubrowski, CEO of Hopeful Horizons and I’m thrilled to be here today, during domestic violence awareness month, to celebrate the grand opening of the 14th Circuit’s Victim Services Center.

 

Hopeful Horizons is the local nonprofit children’s advocacy, domestic violence and rape crisis center serving the 14th Judicial Circuit and we are proud to be a key partner in the Victim Services Center.

 

Each year, Hopeful Horizons provides critical, life-saving services to over 1,100 victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault from our local community.

 

Services we provide include a 24-hour hotline, emergency domestic violence shelter, forensic interviews, evidence-based trauma treatment, legal services, forensic medical evaluations, advocacy, case management, support groups, hospital accompaniment, prevention programs and professional trainings.

 

Thanks to grants and community support, we are able to offer all of these services free of charge.

 

At Hopeful Horizons, our vision is, “A community without abuse.”

 

Considering South Carolina Ranks 5th in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men, 39th in child well-being and our rape rate has exceeded the national average since the 80s, ending abuse in the Palmetto State is a big job – and we can’t do it on our own.

We recognize that it will take the community working together to end abuse, which is why we quickly signed on to be a part of Solicitor Stone’s vision for the Victim Services Center, which is based on the internationally recognized Family Justice Center model.

 

By bringing victim service providers, law enforcement, the Department of Social Services, health care professionals and the Solicitor’s Office together under one roof, we will not only make services more accessible to victims, but we will also build our coordinated community response to more effectively and efficiently support victims and hold offenders accountable.

The Family Justice Center model has been shown to reduce homicides, increase victim safety, reduce recantation and minimization by victims when they are wrapped in services and support, increase prosecution of offenders and decrease the fear and anxiety of victims.

As a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center, Hopeful Horizons is charged with conducting forensic interviews to help gather evidence for law enforcement or the Department of Social Services when there are allegations of child abuse or neglect.

 

Our forensic interviewers are licensed clinicians who have been trained to gather factual information from children in a developmentally-appropriate and legally sound manner as a part of the investigative process.

 

The Children’s Advocacy Center model of forensic interviewing helps to ensure that a child only has to tell their story of victimization one time - in a setting that is child friendly - and you’ll get to see the Children’s Center on the tour.

 

From January through September of this year, Hopeful Horizons has conducted 106 forensic interviews with children at the Victim Services Center.

 

We also have staff on site who provide counseling, advocacy and support for adult survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

 

Of course, we still provide a full array of services at our locations in Beaufort and at our Bluffton office as well as travelling to Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.

 

So, if you are a survivor of child abuse, domestic violence or sexual assault – we want you to know that you are not alone. Hopeful Horizons is here to help.

 

Survivors who walk through the doors of the Victim Services Center or reach out through our 24-hour hotline will have access to Hopeful Horizons’ compassionate team of professionals who will support them on their journey of healing from the trauma of abuse.

 

We are so grateful to Solicitor Stone and his team for bringing the Victim Services Center to life and we wish to congratulate them on this amazing success.

 

Together we WILL end abuse and change lives in the Lowcountry.