It is estimated that 10 percent of all children are sexually abused before they turn 18. This abuse is associated with devastating consequences to the children, their families and their communities. Each year, the Sexual Assault Clinic of Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia serves more than 350 patients from Thurston and seven other southwest counties, including the local tribal communities. Most of the patients seen at the clinic are children.
The goal of the clinic is twofold: first, to provide the best advocacy support for children who are suspected victims, and second, to bring awareness of the problem to the community and provide prevention education to adults to help them recognize the signs of sexual abuse. The clinic is located within the Monarch Children’s Justice & Advocacy Center, which allows the children and their families to access legal, medical and behavioral health services in one safe location. This center allows health staff to partner with other parts of the judicial system, helping to ensure effective prosecution and incarceration for child abusers. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross)