Welcome to Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center

Our center provides a coordinated, evidence-based response to child abuse that reduces trauma and provides treatment for the children and families in our community in a safe child-focused environment.

Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center is dedicated to creating communities in which children and families live free from abuse and are free to reach their full potential.

We can always use a helping hand!


Donate by check to:

Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center - 303 East Richardson Ave., Summerville, SC 29483


Thank you so much on behalf of the Dorchester Children's Advocacy Center!

Supporters and Volunteers

smiling-peopleWe can’t thank our hard working supporters and volunteers enough for turning up their sleeves and giving of themselves as they do and have done for many years for the Dorchester Children’s Advocacy Center. The gifts of time, effort and monies provide us the opportunity to do the things that we need to do for the children and families who have entrusted us with their care. Without this support, we would never be able to provide the level of service we are so proud of to the Children we serve.

Parents Should Know


Some signs parent should look for as Possible Symptoms of sexual abuse:

Physical signs include:

  1. Stained or torn underwear.
  2. Trouble walking, sitting or going to the bathroom.
  3. Difficulty swallowing or eating.

Emotional signs include:

  1. Depression, anxiety, anger or mood swings.
  2. Fears of certain places, people or activities.
  3. Nightmares or sudden fear of the dark.

Behavioral signs include:

  1. Sexual knowledge or behavior inappropriate for their age.
  2. Self-destructive behavior, such as pulling their hair or cutting their skin.
  3. Acting younger than their age, such as bed wetting or sucking their thumb.

To learn more about recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect please visit:


All children are different; however, parents know when something is wrong and should trust their instincts.

Teach children:

  • The right names of their body parts.
  • When they should talk to you - for example, when any behavior confuses them and when touching or other situations make them feel uncomfortable, mixed-up or confused.
  • When not to keep secrets - help children understand the difference between secrets and surprises.
  • That no one has the right to touch them if they don't want to be touched.

What parents can do if a child discloses abuse:

  • Believe the child - children usually don't make up stories of sexual abuse.
  • Get help for the child.
  • Be careful with questions -listen, but avoid leading questions.
  • Respond calmly and supportively.
  • Report it!
  • Despite their personal experiences and overwhelming concern, many Americans simply do not get involved or contact authorities.
  • When actually confronted with suspected child abuse, only 6% of Americans said theycontacted authorities, 6% contacted the police, and 19% contacted child protection services.
  • When asked what actions a person can take to help stop child abuse, 48% say they would not go to the authorities, contact the police, or contact child protection services.
  • More than one in four Americans (26%) say they have been in situations where they suspected a child has been a victim of child abuse but didn't know what to do.
  • One-third (33%) say people are reluctant to report suspected cases because they do not want to get involved.
  • There has been a lot of recent discussion about the bystander effect. A study commissioned in 2008 on the bystander effect in child abuse cases summarized some salient findings. In short, people don't report child abuse because: 1)they do not know the signs of abuse; 2)uncertainty about reporting; and 3)are afraid of the consequences
  • The Child Welfare Information Gateway has a searchable database of laws relating to child abuse for all 50 states. There is summary of the laws governing the Making and Screening of Reports: These resources can help folks in every state understand how to make a report, their immunity in doing so in good faith, and to whom to make the report.
  • and a secondary summary for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse:
  • These resources can help folks in every state understand how to make a report, their immunity in doing so in good faith, and to whom to make the report.

Adults need to take action and the public should demand it.

The effects of child abuse lasts way beyond when it happens to the child...Sometimes, it lasts a whole lifetime and because of this, it is a community's problem because it does affect the bottom line of every city, county and state's budget, which costs our nation $104 billion to remediate when abuse and neglect is not prevented.

Support community efforts:

  • Volunteer your time to organizations that help protect children.
  • Get involved in public education campaigns that help raise awareness.
  • Support your local Children's Advocacy Center.

For More information:
Visit D2L.org or Onewithcourage.org.