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Helping Utah children heal during times of trauma

Local News

SUMMIT COUNTY (News4Utah) – If a child ever faces abuse, the Children’s Justice Center is there. It’s a service people hope they will never have to use but unfortunately, research shows 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will need it during times of trauma. Now, the center in Summit County is in desperate need of support. Here’s what the center does and how you can help.

Three years ago, the Gordon family experienced heart-wrenching trauma.

“It’s probably the worst day of my life,” said father, Steve Gordon.

His wife, Liz was driving their then 16-year-old daughter to school when she revealed she had been raped. The Gordons went to police and were referred to the Summit County Children’s Justice Center.

“You don’t realize that you need that safe wonderful place until you need that safe wonderful place,” Liz said.

Investigator Christina Sally took us for a tour inside the center. For years it’s sat at the back of the Summit County library and the DMV.

“It’s challenging for confidentiality reasons. We want our children to feel like they are so protected and so safe,” Sally said.

When children are disclosing extreme trauma and undergoing invasive medical exams, the lack of privacy can cause anxiety. But a new location may solve that problem.

Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson tells us about the building. “I was riding my e-bike on my way to work and saw the “for sale” sign go up in the front yard.”

Off the beaten path, and incredibly private, Olson says it was the perfect location for a new center.

“It’s also centrally located to serve families not only in Park City but also North Summit and South Summit,” she explained.

Inside the home, areas perfect for an interview, medical and conference rooms.

“It really had everything, it ticked all the boxes,” Olson said.

But right now, the funding is just not there. In order to open the doors to families across Summit County, the CJC must raise $2.7 million as soon as possible.

Olson said, “This facility is so important because it assists families at that darkest hour.”

Families like the Gordons. Whose daughter, now 19, is still healing from the horrific ordeal.

“She’s going to be fine, but it’s, it’s a process. For all of us,” Liz said.

Sadly, it’s a process many more will have to endure which makes it all the more important to get the facility up and running.

“It’s imperative that we all support it, even those that haven’t been through it because you never know,” Steve said.

The CJC is holding an open house at the new location on Saturday, October 27th from 4-6pm. They’re inviting the entire community to come out, ask questions and learn more about the center. Of course, donations are also greatly appreciated. For more information, click here.

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