Prior to the development of Child Advocacy Centers, child victims of abuse would often have to be interviewed multiple times by many different agencies, increasing the stress and trauma of the event. Prosecution levels were low and the interviews themselves often did not reach the desired end result of disclosure and, just as importantly, healing.
CAC’s allow for the coordination and streamlining of all of the agencies involved in the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse cases. The main goal of all CAC’s is to provide support for child abuse victims, as well as ongoing support for their non-offending family members and/or guardians.
All CAC’s work closely with what is called a Multi-Disciplinary Team, or MDT. These teams are made up of social services, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, mental health services, medical services, and advocacy services. Our MDT’s meet monthly to review cases and to coordinate services. In doing so most children only have to be interviewed one time and are able to receive the ongoing services they need for them and their families to heal. It’s also been shown that MDT’s and CAC’s working together have produced higher levels of prosecution rates in child abuse cases. It also ensures that children are not overlooked, and that the entire process of investigation and prosecution runs smoothly.