what to expect
advice for caregivers:
• Don’t question or allow others to question the child or ask for details.
• Don’t discuss abuse with others in front of the child.
• Control your own emotions around the child.
• This can be a very difficult time; please seek counseling support for you and the child.
• Maintain your normal daily routines.
• Do not treat your child any differently.
preparing your child:
Children should be told they are going to a safe and friendly place where they can talk about what may have happened. Here, children are not in trouble and are encouraged to tell the truth. It is important not to talk to your child about what happened unless your child brings it up and wants to talk. If this occurs, listen and be loving and supportive.
the interview process:
The interview is conducted with only the child by a neutral forensic interview specialist in a child-friendly room. The interviewer may meet with the caregiver prior to the interview. The investigators will observe the interview through a one-way mirror. Caregivers are not allowed in the observation room to ensure the integrity of the investigation. While the child is being interviewed, parents are invited to meet with a representative of victim and mental health services.
the medical exam:
When it is suspected a child has been abused, a medical exam may be requested. Caregivers may be invited to accompany the child into the medical exam; the medical staff will have some medical history questions for you to answer. Specially-trained pediatricians and nurse practitioners perform all exams. Your child’s head-to-toe exam will be like a regular doctor’s check up in many ways. We do not give shots. The exam is not painful. It will identify any medical conditions or trauma which must be treated as well as collect and document evidence if present. Medical staff can discuss and answer any questions you may have.
The investigators may be able to give you feedback about what will happen next in the investigation. If your child wants to talk or has questions about his or her experience at the CAC, just listen and be supportive. Remember, we are here to help; don’t hesitate to call us for additional support and resources. The assessment process can be stressful for both you and the child. Consider planning a relaxing and enjoyable activity together before resuming your normal daily routine.