Pickens County Advocacy Center -Health
Serving the Clemson Area Since 1985 EIN: 57-0790623
Pickens County Advocacy Center has been in existence since 1985 and is the only agency in our county to provide 24 hour/ 7 days week assistance to the victims of sexual assault. These services are free of charge and are available to anyone without regard to race, creed, color, religion, marital status, disability, sex, age, or national origin. We respond to these victims through self-referral, hospital referral, law enforcement referral, and hotline call assistance. Through this crisis intervention we strive to decrease or maintain the immediate stress level of our victim while providing support. We achieve this by providing the victim with a well-trained victim advocate that will be with them every step of the legal, emotional, and healing process. We are passionate about community education and involvement. We achieve this through interacting with the local schools, community groups, and other organizations by teaching healthy relationships and sexual assault awareness.
- Sexual Assault Victim Services
- Survivors’ Closet
- Healthy Relationships Education Program
- Kamp Kid
- Beards & Braids Project
- Darkness to Light Training
- radKIDS Training
Our primary focus at Pickens County Advocacy Center is advocating for the rights of sexual violence survivors. Our goal is to ensure that all survivors of sexual assault in Pickens County are receiving the support and services needed for the recovery and healing process after their victimization. We respond to our survivors of sexual violence through various methods and locations depending on their unique situation. Our two main avenues of crisis management response is through our 24 hour crisis hotline and hospital accompaniment, where our primary objective is to decrease the immediate stress level of our client and provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their health care and reporting options. We achieve this goal by providing the survivor with a trained on-call victim advocate that will be with them every step of the legal, emotional, and healing process. Our agency employees and volunteers must have a criminal background check completed and extensive training before they can work with our sexual violence survivors. After the initial contact, we provide referrals for counseling, child forensic interviewing, support group services, and other services that may be needed by the individual and family members. We serve as an advocate during the legal process of filing charges, making statements, and court appearances. We are an advocate first and foremost of healing and survival of all sexual assault victims. Each position within Pickens County Advocacy Center is vital, but none is as important as our passion for responding to victims of all ages in need. Therapeutic Services Pickens County Advocacy Center provides individual counseling for our victims of sexual violence, ages 12 and higher. An individual therapy plan is created after the initial intake and counseling session. Our counseling services are offered at no charge to our clients and they may attend as many sessions as needed/deemed appropriate by our clinician. PCAC also provides counseling for our adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Many of our adult clients never disclosed their abuse as a child or received formal counseling for the abuse. This service allows our clients to effectively work through their healing process as an adult and work on continuing trauma that they received as children. We also provide counseling for secondary victims of sexual violence, such as family members or friends. Many friends and family members are affected by secondary trauma through either witnessing the event or helping a primary victim after they have been assaulted. In 2017, PCAC added the services of a contract therapist that specializes in “body grounding” therapy techniques and animal assisted therapy. This addition of therapy has allowed to us meet the needs of our trauma victims in a unique and effective manner. Not all survivors of trauma respond to traditional therapy modalities. This allows us to provide high quality and effective treatment methods for all of our survivors. PCAC provides support group services for our clients when they have progressed in individual counseling and are ready to speak with other survivors of sexual assault. In a therapeutic setting, this is beneficial for our clients to speak and process with others that have experience similar trauma as them and build a support network. The Hotline Call Process Pickens County Advocacy Center provides an anonymous 24-hour hotline service. This anonymity allows the victim of abuse the opportunity to gain information regarding sexual violence even if they are not ready to report to law enforcement or disclose their assault. A trained victim advocate is on-call for a one week rotation and carries our PCAC on-call phone. The advocate that receives the hotline call is trained to listen to the caller and determine if they are speaking to a primary sexual assault victim, family member or friend of a victim. The advocate is trained to ask specific questions regarding the caller’s situation to ensure that they give the appropriate information and resources. The advocate must have a balance of listening and providing advice is one that comes with experience, patience, and understanding of the sexual assault survivor. Hotline calls may last between 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the depth of the situation. There are many sexual violence victims that have no one else to speak to about their abuse they have experienced or are currently enduring. As advocates, we give the adult victims all the information so they may make informed decisions regarding their health care and reporting of the assault. Due to the State of South Carolina mandatory reporting laws, we always report the information to Law Enforcement and Department of Social Services regarding victims that are under the legal age for consent.
Our agency provides clothing to all sexual assault survivors after they have received their forensic exam and their clothing has been collected for evidence. When a victim reports to the hospital, they are usually wearing the clothing they were assaulted in and do not bring an extra change of clothing with them. The clothing service that we provide allows the victim to leave with clean clothing and dignity, rather than leaving wearing a hospital robe and a blanket to wear. Our agency is able to supply replacement clothing to suit all victims: male, female, child, adolescent and adult. We must always keep enough pants, shirts, undergarments, feminine hygiene, and toiletries for the victims. PCAC provides each sexual assault survivor with a care bag, flees blanket, and stuffed animal (for children) during the initial hospital visit. The emergency room is usually very cold and the survivors find comfort in having a warm, non-hospital issued blanket that they can wrap up in. We provide stuffed animals for the children so that they have a comfort to hold on to during their visit. The victim care bags contain tissues, water/juice, snacks, and small toiletry items. Many of our victims have not bathed, eaten, or had anything to drink since the trauma occurred (due to evidence collection). This small care bag gives an added bit of comfort and sustenance that is greatly appreciated by our clients.
Our agency not only assists sexual violence survivors in their time of crisis, we also provide education and awareness presentations in our community working to prevent future incidents of sexual assault and rape. Pickens County Advocacy Center provides our Healthy Relationships Program and Sexual Awareness Education to the schools in the Pickens County School District, local colleges & universities, community groups, businesses, and other local organizations. The topic of sexual violence is a difficult subject matter in any community to discuss, but we have dedicated staff and volunteers that are passionate and working diligently to promote healthy relationships in our community and reduce prominence of sexual violence in the Pickens County community. The Healthy Relationships Education Program has been designed by the Pickens County Advocacy Center by the request from the residents and School District of Pickens County. The purpose of the program is to teach children ages 5-17 healthy relationships and the dangers of risky behaviors. The following curricula is provided for all children in the Pickens County Community: Cyber-bullying, Safe Dates, radKIDS, Healthy Relationships, bystander Intervention, and social media awareness and safety. By teaching the above topics and promoting healthy relationships to the children of Pickens County, they will be more informed on how to make safe and healthy decisions throughout the childhood and into their adult lives. Our goal is to reduce the number of child-on-child sexual assault cases and prevent future sexual violence in adulthood through our youth learning the concept of healthy relationships. Erin’s Law was passed in the State of South Carolina in 2014, which requires that all schools provide age-appropriate education regarding the identification and reporting process to all children from pre-K through 12th grade. Pickens County Advocacy Center has been working closely with the School District by providing the 4th R curriculum, bullying & suicide prevention, sexual assault information presentations, and faculty professional development to assist them in meeting the requirement of Erin’s Law. We work closely with the Department of Social Services to schedule classes for both in-home and out-of-home children that receive services. Pickens County Advocacy Center also offers these educational services to community groups, such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and church groups. All groups requesting our services for educational classes will be provided services at no cost.
Kamp Kid was established in 1991 as an afternoon event for our “Kampers”. Kamp Kid rapidly grew in popularity and size and is now held for an entire weekend each fall. The Kampers are children that have been removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse; they come from Helping Hands, Miracle Hill, and foster families. Each Kamper ranging from ages 5 to 12 is partnered with a volunteer “Kounselor”. All activities include both the Kamper and the Kounselor for the duration of the event. The activities planned are based around a theme and we include are both fun and educational. The relationship that is formed between the child and volunteer is designed to help the child rebuild trust with adults, which they have often lost due to past family experiences. The activities and interaction helps build the Kamper’s self-esteem and allows them to simply be themselves for a weekend in a fun environment. In the past 27, Kamp Kid has made a difference in the lives of approximately 1,500 children in Pickens County. Our agency also provides follow-up events that are planned with the same Kampers and Kounselors. The follow up events are usually based around holidays and involve a craft that the child and volunteer can work on together.
The Beards & Braids Project is an event designed to promote father-daughter bonding and healthy communication skills. The event is open and free to girls ages 3-10 in Pickens County. Pickens County Advocacy Center invites fathers and their daughter(s) to the event so that they can learn how to style and care for their child’s hair. We extend the invitation to foster fathers and grandfathers to the event if they are the male custodial caregiver for the child. Many men are intimidated to learn how to style their daughter’s hair and many times leave this caregiver duty to the mother. We have both professional hairstylists and cosmetology students at the event that can teach and model hairstyles for all ethnicities. While the fathers are learning to style their daughter’s hair, we have conversation cards for them so that they can engage in meaningful conversations. The topics are light in nature, but have questions that help the fathers learn more about their daughters. We give the girls conversation cards so that they can also ask their father/caregiver questions to help learn more about them. These simple conversation cards will promote communication and bonding. The premise is if we can increase the communication earlier with their father, they will be more comfortable talking to them about more serious issues that may arise in their life or when they need help.
Pickens County Advocacy Center provides the Stewards of Children training through Darkness to Light. We have a trained facilitator on staff that provides child sexual abuse prevention training for adults. The training is designed to help adults understand the signs of child sexual abuse so that it can be recognized, ways to prevent future incidents, and how to report child sexual abuse to the proper authorities. This training is designed for any adult that has contact with children. The training may be done in small groups to educate daycare workers, school teachers and administrators, or any other community group or business. The training is designed to last 2-3 hours in length, depending on the group size.
The radKIDS© program has been committed to providing education that enhances the ability of children and parents to utilize knowledge, skills, and power to protect themselves from violence and harm. The radKIDS© program strengthens family, encourages physical fitness, and teaches core safety values. The curriculum includes fun, activity-based programs along with safety lectures, safety drills, muscle memory exercises and dynamic simulation. radKIDS© community based programs have been offered as after school programs, day camps, recreation programs, as well as through scouting and religious youth groups. Through radKIDS© training, children become empowered and learn to replace the fear, confusion, and panic or dangerous situations with confidence, personal safety skills, and self-esteem. In the past six years, our agency has taught radKIDS© to an estimated 2,000 boys and girls in Pickens County. We offer these services for free to the public as a part of community awareness and prevention in our community. The radKIDS© program is offered to boys and girls ages 5– 13 years old. The program is a 8 to 12 hour course teaching, recognizing, and avoiding abduction, school safety, bullying, “out and about” safety, home safety, and personal safety through scenarios with an aggressor. The course is commonly split into several days to accommodate age ranges.
Pickens County Advocacy Center was established in 1985 to provide optimum quality assistance and crisis intervention for all sexual assault victims in Pickens County .
The purpose of the Pickens County Advocacy Center is to provide immediate 24-hour response to sexual assault victims and their families through medical, court, and law enforcement escort, educational programs, information and referral, legal advocacy, and support services. Pickens County Advocacy Center also provides training for medical personnel, social service agencies, and law enforcement on the dynamics of sexual assault. As a continued service to community all services of the Pickens County Advocacy Center are complimentary and confidential.
Where the Mountains Begins and Abuse Ends.