The Cottage, Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc.

From Sally Sheppard, Executive Director of The Cottage, Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc.

I find joy in thinking of all the lives that The Cottage has been able to be a part of as an agency in our community working with survivors of child abuse and sexual assault. We see over 650 clients annually. Our focus is to support them as they navigate the criminal justice system along with the healing process after child abuse and sexual assault. We do this in being with them as they report the abuse or assault and as they receive crisis services due to the abuse or assault. We form a bond with the survivor and offer therapy and continued support to them at no cost.

I feel called to do this work because I chose not to turn away from survivors of child abuse and sexual assault. I have the ability to listen to their stories and to offer help in all the resources that are available to them. I feel gratitude that I’ve been given this opportunity to be part of the solution to child abuse and sexual assault through my work at The Cottage. Join me in being part of the solution. Look to The Cottage as a resource to our community as we all continue to battle the reality of child abuse and sexual assault. Together, we can change the impact of child abuse and sexual assault on our community. We can make a community where survivors find true healing on their terms with no restrictions.
Mission Statement: The Cottage raises awareness and facilitates the healing of individuals, families and communities affected by sexual violence and child abuse.

Vision Statement: We believe in the dignity of the individual, the ultimate right to make choices, advocacy for every person and the ability to heal.

History: We began as a rape crisis line as a response to a serial rapist in Athens. We were created to provide support to survivors of child abuse and sexual assault. We grew into a federally funded agency continuing to provide support through our hotline but also providing counseling to survivors of rape. In 1995, we were asked to be the Children’s Advocacy Center for Athens and the surrounding area. We added the programs of working with victims of child abuse and their families to promote the investigation, prosecution and healing for victims of child abuse. We continue to serve both survivors of child abuse and sexual assault in the Athens community and surrounding counties.

Goals: We heard from the Athens Community through a survey we conducted as to what is the most important response to sexual assault within our community. We send local responders to child abuse and sexual assault to local and national trainings on child abuse and sexual assault. We collaborate with a number of therapeutic agencies to ensure free therapy to our clients. We continue to advocate for better protections for our clients through the state legislation and work at developing new policy for how survivors of sexual assault are treated within the various agencies they navigate. We continue to hold community awareness events to increase the knowledge of sexual assault and support of sexual assault survivors.

We help the community by providing a safe place for survivors of child abuse and sexual assault to receive a compassionate, supportive response to their victimization. For adult clients, we offer a confidential response to their victimization as we offer them choices in what they can do about the assault.

The Community can tell others that are in need of our assistance about us. They can call our 24/7 crisis hotline at any time for support and information. They can also encourage their own groups or others to learn more about child abuse and sexual assault.
To learn more about The Cottage, Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center, Inc., please visit www.northgeorgiacottage.org

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