Thank you to the Amy Helpenstell Foundation at the Quad Cities Community Foundation for the $20,000.00 grant (paid over two years) This grant allows us to continue our mission of reducing trauma for child victims of sexual and physical abuse.
The mission of the Rock Island County Children’s Advocacy Center is to reduce trauma to children utilizing multi-disciplinary team investigations of abuse.
We serve children under the age of 18 who have been the victim of sexual or physical abuse. All children are referred by Law Enforcement or the Department of Children and Family Services to be interviewed at our center about the abuse. The purpose is to coordinate and track the investigations, medical treatment, counseling referrals, prosecution and training in order to protect the best interest of the victims and their families.
What is a Children's Advocacy Center?
To understand what a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, law enforcement, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.
When police or Department of Children and Family Services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not retraumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview. CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.
Without CACs, children would have to speak to 10-12 different people during an investigation of child abuse, repeating their story many times. Since the creation of CACs, children are able to visit the CAC and talk to one person while the MDT views the interview & coordinates the investigation.
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