The services of a victim advocate are essential in achieving the overall goals of reduction in trauma and secondary victimization for children.
Advocacy services consist of:
- Welcoming and orienting the child and family to the CSC
- Providing crisis intervention during the initial visit
- Enhancing the cooperation of the family in the court process
- Accompanying the child and non-offending parent to court
- Facilitating linkages with other types of basic needs including housing, food, job services, clothing, and others
The Children’s Safety Center has trained forensic interviewers who perform recorded interviews as requested by investigators. CSC also offers the use of the interview rooms to all investigating professionals who have participated and passed a research-based, 40 hours or more forensic interview training.
A coordinated approach:
- Reduces the number of interviews of the child
- Facilitates the efficient gathering and sharing of all information critical to the case
- Broadens the knowledge base by including the information from several agencies
- Improves communication among agencies
- Creates less stress for the child
- Encourages openness and trust
Specialized medical evaluations and sexual assault exams are made available to all children who are victims of suspected abuse; particularly sexual abuse. All forensic medical examinations are conducted by a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Services also include sexually transmitted infection testing, pregnancy testing, and case consultations.
The Children’s Safety Center provides a free, comprehensive treatment program for the child victims by using evidence-based treatments for trauma such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
The goals of treatment for the child include:
- Develop and/or improve emotional regulation skills
- Strengthen positive attachments with caregivers
- Improve ability to function normally in school and the community
- Understand what healthy, safe relationships are
- Reduce self-blame and feelings of guilt
- Provide a safe supportive place to process traumatic experiences
- Develop a sense of hope for the future