It is difficult to hear as a parent or caregiver that your child may have been abused. In recognizing the stress that comes with such traumatic news, we’ve put in place a process we feel not only helps put the child at ease, but also assures family members we are doing everything we can to bring alleged abusers to justice.
Getting your child the help he/she needs begins with you. Once you report abuse to ChildLine (1-800-932-0313) you will be contacted by the authorities. If you are referred to the Children’s Advocacy Center, our staff will walk you through the interview process, answer any questions you may have, and schedule a time for you to bring your child to our center.
Once you arrive for the interview, you will meet with the Family Advocate to sign a consent form and a release of information form. The Family Advocate will also ask you about any health concerns you may have for your child.
While you remain in the waiting room, the information gathering will continue with a forensic interview between your child and someone trained in forensics, child development, and linguistics. A forensic interview is a neutral, non-leading, fact-finding, and age-appropriate process to gather information. During the interview, the rest of the investigative team will observe via closed circuit from another room, reducing stress and eliminating the need for your child to be interviewed multiple times. The interview will be permanently recorded.
Once the interview is complete, the investigative team will meet briefly to discuss the next steps in the investigation and how they may best help you and your child. You will then be invited to meet with the team to discuss the interview, next steps, and services you may need or want. In some instances, your child may be referred for a forensic medical exam by a Pediatric Specialist. All medical appointments are scheduled by the Family Advocate.
Team members will keep you informed about the status of your child’s case throughout the investigation. The Family Advocate is always available to talk with you about any feelings, concerns, worries and reactions that you, your child and your family may have. Our staff can also assist you in obtaining any services you might need.