The CAC offers a safe, neutral, child-friendly environment for children who are suspected victims of child abuse to be interviewed. A friendly staff member at the Child Advocacy Center greets children and their families. A team of investigators including the Department of Human Resources, Law Enforcement and the District Attorney’s office attend the interviews. The child is taken into a private quiet room by a professional Forensic Interviewer from the Child Advocacy Center, where the child is interviewed. This room is designed with hidden cameras so that other team investigators may view the interview through a closed circuit television from another office. This eliminates repetitive interviews for the child, thus reducing the amount of trauma for the child.
The CAC has a licensed child therapist on site for follow-up treatment after the interview takes place. The therapist will provide counseling services for the child victim as long as necessary.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Abuse?
If you suspect a child has been abused, here’s what to do:
1) Remain Calm. If a child discloses to you, he or she is most certainly scared and embarrassed. If you react in an emotional way, the child may elect not to open up to you or other adults.
2) Don’t Investigate. Remember, the child has potentially been the victim of a serious crime. Don’t ask the child (0r anybody else) a lot of questions. Make sure you know just enough to ensure the child’s immediate safety, give the child comfort and assurance, but leave the investigation to professionals.
3) Report. Call DHR (256-582-7100) or law enforcement (911) right away. Don’t delay. Your prompt action could make all the difference in a child’s safety.
4) Don’t Confront the Alleged Offender. You could endanger the child and hinder the police investigation.
5) Document. Write down anything and everything that might help the investigation.
6) Get Support. If you have questions or need help in any way, call the Marshall County Child Advocacy Center (256-582-8492).