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Knowles honored with tree for child advocacy

The Chronicle - 5/16/2018

The Women's Center recently hosted an honorary tree planting to acknowledge Leslie Knowles, dedicated founder of its Child and Adolescent Trauma Program, for her dedication, time and energy to make the program a success for the last 21 years.

The Child and Adolescent Trauma Program provides comprehensive treatment to young victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and is one of the only bi-lingual programs in the area offering services in Spanish and Portuguese, according to a news release. Services include therapy, help for caregivers, treatment groups for victims, art therapy and parenting groups.

Knowles, of Dartmouth, has stewarded the program since its founding.

"Because of her work, the program enjoys an excellent statewide reputation encompassing cutting-edge therapeutic techniques with the very best trauma information treatment for children and caregivers," the center said in the release. "The Women's Center is pleased to acknowledge Leslie's work in this way and we are so grateful to G. Bourne Knowles for the donation of the beautiful tree that will enhance the exterior of The Women's Center. This tree will be a reminder of Leslie and all her accomplishments. Even though she is retired, her legacy will live on through the Child & Adolescent Trauma Program.

In fiscal 2017, the program provided therapeutic services to 475 child and adolescent victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. Caregivers and children are often seen together in trauma treatment. Of the 475 clients served, 349 were new referrals and the remaining 126 were ongoing clients from fiscal 2016. Of the new referrals, 155 were child victims and 194 were caregivers.

National statistics for child sexual abuse show one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. One in five children are solicited sexually while on the internet. Most child victims are sexually abused by someone they know, love and trust. An estimated 40 million survivors of child sexual abuse are in America today, according to the release.

The Women's Center, with offices in Fall River and New Bedford, is "committed to breaking the silence and dispelling the myths that deny victims the right to safety, justice and healing." All services are confidential and free. More information is available by calling (508) 996-3343 or visiting thewomenscentersc.com. The 24-hour hotline for help is (508) 999-6636.

 
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