WHO WE ARE
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The MISSION of Dove House is to minimize trauma to child victims of sexual abuse and their non-offending family members by providing a centralized, safe and child-friendly facility from which a multidisciplinary team (MDT) conducts investigation and intervention activities; to advocate for and support child victims and non-offending family members by representing their interest throughout the process, promoting appropriate therapies and making referrals to community resources as needed; and to enhance the process for optimal case resolution.
Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center is a fully accredited 501(c)(3), non-profit organization providing a safe and child-friendly facility that is supporting the investigation, prosecution and therapy / follow-up of reported child sexual abuse/assault cases that have occurred in Iredell and Alexander Counties. Child sexual abuse continues to be a monumental problem in our society, and unfortunately our local communities are no exception. We receive, on average, FOUR newly reported cases every week.
Since opening in September 2002, Dove House’s existence has enhanced coordination between the community agencies and professionals that are involved in responding to reports of child sexual abuse. These partner agencies that comprise our community’s Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) include the 6 law enforcement agencies in Iredell and Alexander Counties, the 22A Judicial District Attorney’s Office, both counties’ Departments of Social Services, Guardian ad Litem programs, multiple medical and mental health providers, and the Dove House staff.
The coordinated agency response that is facilitated by Dove House promotes better understanding of and respect for each agency’s role and expertise, strengthens informed case management decisions, and most importantly, is designed to minimize the trauma which children and their non-offending family members can suffer during the investigation and intervention process. Our coordinated response has eliminated the need for traumatized child victims to go to multiple “scary” locations (e.g. police stations, District Attorney’s office, hospitals, child protective services, etc.) for interviews and medical exams. Rather, the child comes to Dove House’s non-threatening “home” environment, with the multiple MDT members coming to the child instead of the child being taken to each of them. One of the most important things we do is ensure that the child and non-offending family members are referred into the therapy they need to begin their healing process.
Working together as a Team from the very beginning of a report of child sexual abuse not only significantly reduces the trauma that children and their families go through, but the multidisciplinary team approach also results in much higher quality investigations, which leads to optimum conditions for effective prosecution of perpetrators against our children. Our District Attorney’s office has averaged an 86% successful prosecution rate of these perpetrators since 2003 – a tremendous improvement over the less than 20% successes prior to Dove House’s existence.
In February of 2001, a small group of six volunteers formed a Steering Committee for the purpose of creating a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) in Iredell County, North Carolina. This action was compelled upon discovery of multiple incidents of sexual assault against the 4-year-old son (by a neighbor) of one of our Committee members, which was responded to in an uncoordinated, less-than-satisfactory manner from many well-intended agencies within our community. Through research, our Steering Committee learned of the CAC concept and discovered that Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country have largely eliminated the problem of uncoordinated, less-than-effective response to rising incidents of child sexual assault. This small group of concerned citizens immediately developed a 3-phase Implementation Strategy, confirming their determination to strive for the development of Dove House, a CAC for Iredell County. Statistical research at that time revealed to us that in the year 2000, in Iredell County alone, there were 153 reported cases of sexual assault against our children, where the perpetrator was the parent or caretaker of the child. This disturbing statistic did not include incidents where the perpetrator was not a family member. We discovered that statistics on cases involving non-family member perpetrators were not accessible in our county, so we also became determined to become a central repository for child abuse related data for Iredell County.
The Dove House Steering Committee spent many weeks in the spring of 2001 meeting with top county officials to confirm the need for, and assess the support of, a Children’s Advocacy Center. Our first meeting was with our District Attorney of the NC 22nd Judicial District, whose positive endorsement propelled all of our other meetings with top agency executives. With our DA’s leading sponsorship, our executive meetings culminated in the Steering Committee’s hosting of an Interagency Forum on May 16, 2001, and, based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from this Forum, by early Fall 2001, it resulted in the execution of an Interagency Agreement, signed by the highest management level in the District Attorney’s office, the Department of Social Services, four (4) law enforcement agencies, and many other medical and mental health agencies.
Multi-disciplinary commitment was now in place. The consistent support of the creation of Dove House made it abundantly clear that this community was ready, willing and able to dramatically improve our response to victims of child sexual abuse. We occupied a leased facility in July 2002, opened our doors and began receiving clients in September 2002.
In 2005 we were approached by several community agencies in neighboring Alexander County, and soon after we began officially serving clients in Alexander County as well as Iredell County.
In 2006 our Board of Directors met a medium-term goal by purchasing land in Statesville on which we intended to eventually build, and own, a new facility that would be designed specifically to meet the needs of our clients, our staff, and the multiple MDT (multidisciplinary team) members of our partner agencies. In 2008 construction began, and in November 2009 we occupied our current “miracle house” — made possible only by the gracious and overwhelmingly generous support of the community that we serve. Lead by the amazing Spivey Construction company, donations poured in and by the time we occupied our current 6,400 square foot facility, it was 93% paid for through massive donations of labor, materials and cash support. The land and building mortgage was paid in full in May 2015 and Dove House is debt free.
Our staff consists of an Executive Director, a Forensic Interviewer, 2 Victim Advocates, a Community Outreach Coordinator and a Book Keeper/Administrative Assistant.
Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center is located at 2407 Simonton Road in Statesville, North Carolina.
This amazing facility will ensure our ability to serve children and families for years to come. Over 93% of our new facility was paid for through the awesome generosity and support of the community that we serve! The land and building mortgage was paid in full in May 2015 and Dove House is debt free. We will be forever grateful especially to Spivey Construction of Mooresville, NC, who donated their project management services and managed this entire project from start to finish, as well as the many other companies who donated materials and labor.
We welcome tours of our fabulous new facility; we only ask that you call 704-883-9814 for an appointment so that we can ensure that we can schedule you during a time that we are not serving a family.