Posted by: joshjasper | May 9, 2009

I Have a Dream

I read somewhere once that one of the best ways to realize your dreams was to regularly talk and write about them.

With that said, my reoccurring dream and vision for the Riverview Center in Dubuque Iowa knows no limits.  We have outgrown our existing space due to the need.  What I envision is a one-stop shop.  In this new space, a survivor of sexual assault could walk through the front doors and receive everything she/he needs to put their lives back together.  This healing space would be client centered.  No more of the days having to walk into a building occupied by other businesses.  A person would know the moment they came in the front door that everything found inside was intended for them.  They would know this not only because of the services but because of the environment as well.  This new space would be inviting for all from the staff employed there, to the color schemes on the walls, down to the very last piece of furniture.

The counseling, advocacy, and prevention services would be there of course.  But in addition, a person would find a child advocacy service.  You see, the city of Dubuque does not have the ability to provide forensic interviews for children that have been sexually and physically abused.  The purpose of this type of interview is to ensure that a child in interviewed one time.  You can imagine how traumatic the current system is in which a child is interviewed by an attorney, a police officer, a service provider, the state, etc.  Imagine if you will, a place in which you report to the police being assaulted, receive counseling, have a medical exam done, consult with an attorney, and receive assistance to help put your life back together.  All of this would be included.

A person in Dubuque that is sexually assaulted would no longer have to worry about going to the emergency room to have an exam done and fear that her/his privacy would be breached due to others waiting for services.  An exam room would be present in our new space.  This space would be staffed with a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE Nurse) 24/7.  This would also ensure that our advocate would be present to provide support for a survivor every time an exam was completed.

As mentioned before, an office would be dedicated for law enforcement.  We know that going to the police station to file a report or for anything for that matter, can be scary.  In this new space, an officer would be present to assist in any way the survivor sees fit.  The same would be true for an attorney’s office.  We know that legal consultation is very important for someone in an abusive relationship.

Again, imagine when you walk through the front door of a place where everything someone needs to heal is under one roof.  Gone would be the days of service providers being territorial and not collaborating together.  We are all in this together, and together we will realize this dream.




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