UCLA’s contributions to community are illuminating problems and bringing solutions to light. Stuart House, with its collaborative efforts to improve treatment for sexually abused children and their families, is a shining example.
Founded in 1988 as a program of the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica Hospital (now UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica), Stuart House is an international model for supporting child victims and their families. Uniting public and private partners in health care, law enforcement, and social services in one place, it has transformed the response to child sexual abuse.
In the traditional system, traumatized children visit up to six different agencies in separate locations, where they are interviewed by multiple strangers without best-practice knowledge in cold, institutional environments. Conversely, Stuart House serves as a “child advocacy center” — a single, child-friendly location where victims and their families receive a warm welcome, expert treatment, and comprehensive services appropriate to each child’s age.
Well established as a model, these services now have a new space: a 19,000 square-foot building that was designed and built by The Rape Foundation with funds it raised for this purpose. The foundation donated the new building, valued at $12.2 million, to the university for the Stuart House program. Even construction raised community awareness; building contractors learned about the hidden crisis of child sexual abuse and grew passionate about the project’s purpose.
The Rape Foundation’s continued partnership will help Stuart House serve more than 650 children and their families annually in addition to training providers from Los Angeles and around the world in establishing child advocacy centers. A collaboration marked by compassion, Stuart House is a place of hope for the most vulnerable.
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