Stillwater News Press

Local News

November 15, 2011

Stillwater's Saville Center hosts open house

STILLWATER, Okla. — A new medical examination room at the Saville Center gives child sexual assault victims a different setting from a hospital emergency room.

The Saville Center, on West Ninth Avenue in Stillwater, opened its doors Monday for a tour of the facility, including the new exam room.

Brandi Watts, the Saville Center sexual assault nurse examiner, said it’s important to offer the exam in a comfortable environment.

“(Children) avoid the anxiety and stress of going to the ER ... ” Watts said. “It’s a lot more relaxed. They don’t have to see as many people.”

The exam can supply evidence for prosecuting people who sexually abuse children.

Saville’s new exam room used to be an office, but now it has a shower, exam table and other medical equipment. It’s painted sea green and has a school of fish painted on the walls. The center had a $25,000 budget for the remodel and medical supplies.

The Saville Center guides child victims of sexual abuse through the steps of reporting and recovering from abuse.

“We call it the full spectrum of services. We provide everything they’re going to need here,” Executive Director Brandi White said.

The center has a forensic interview room, where a police investigator and an agent with Child Protective Services may watch through a one-way window.

The United Way gave the center a grant for updated interview recording equipment last year, White said.

Statistics gathered from the 132 interviews conducted at the center in 2010 give details on reports of child sexual abuse in Stillwater and surrounding communities.

It was determined 59 percent of sexual abuse cases were founded, while 24 percent were unfounded and 17 percent of cases were not able to be confirmed as founded or unfounded.

About 60 percent of victims were girls and 40 percent were boys.

In 60 percent of cases, the alleged perpetrator was a parent or stepparent. In 17 percent of cases, the perpetrator was a relative, and in 8 percent of cases, the perpetrator was the boyfriend or girlfriend of a parent.

Eighty-four percent of children seen at the center were 12 or younger.

The Saville Center added mental health services last year. More than 50 children received mental health services in 2010.

Stella, a comfort animal, was also at Monday’s open house. Holly Chandler, coordinator of victims’ services and forensic interviewer at the Saville Center, brought her friendly Chihuahua to work one day and discovered the kids loved to play with her.

“She really helps break the ice with some of the parents, too,” White said.

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