It was a long time coming, but retired judge Bonnie Davis was able to see her dream come true.
Davis – who was a juvenile and domestic relations court judge in Chesterfield for 20 years – got the idea to start a child advocacy center in 1985 while attending a conference as a prosecuting attorney. The dream was realized when Chesterfield opened such a facility Jan. 30 at 12204 Iron Bridge Road.
The center serves as a one-stop shop of sorts for children and parents in abusive situations.
Having such a center in Chesterfield is more efficient and means that victims and their families don’t have to travel to Richmond, said the center’s administrator Jenelle Beverly.
“It streamlines our process,” she said.
Beverly said 68 families have been assisted at the center since it opened.
Child advocacy center support staff provides referrals to medical services and trauma-focused treatment, for example.
“When a family comes in here, they’re in crisis,” Davis said. “Their life is on the edge of imploding.”
Interviews of children and parents are conducted at the Chesterfield facility by specially trained employees of the police and social services departments in cases where physical or sexual abuse is alleged to have occurred. Other potential incidents could involve domestic violence or homicides.
Other agencies that will utilize the facility include the victim witness assistance program of the Chesterfield commonwealth’s attorney’s office, Bon Secours forensic nurses and employees of the Community Service Board.
The center is the 17th such facility in the state and the second operated by a government entity (Arlington is the other).
The center is also benefitting other jurisdictions such as Dinwiddie County, for example, whose residents and others will no longer have to travel to Richmond.