Imagine if you will, that you have recently found out your child has been abused. You find yourself in a temporary state of helplessness. Where do you go and what do you do? The first part of the Family and Victim Advocate’s role is crisis intervention. After being assigned to a case, the first steps of the Family and Victim Advocate will be to develop a rapport with the caregiver while giving them an opportunity to vent. The advocate will assess strengths and needs, provide support, empathetic understanding as well as provide information for resources that may be helpful in their current situation. Most importantly, the advocate will strive to establish a constructive relationship, continually assessing strengths and needs throughout the process.
Upon your arrival at the CAC, you will be warmly greeted in our child friendly, home-like atmosphere and offered a beverage or snack. Your child will be able to play in our toy filled playroom. During this time, our Family and Victim Advocate will explain the purpose of the visit and the next steps during the visit. You’ll complete necessary paperwork as the advocate walks you through each page. Once your child goes back to the interview room, we will orient the non-offending caregiver to the CAC and establish the role that the CAC plays with the MDT process and answer any questions you may have. Referrals for other services, for example mental health, will be made at this time.
Another important role of our Family and Victim Advocate is to provide support through the court process of the case. The advocate will set up a meeting prior to the trial to help familiarize you and the child with the courtroom. This helps to ease any anxieties the child may have about court and have their questions answered.
Of the many questions non-offending caregivers ask, one of the most frequent is, "How long of a process is this?" The process from the investigative stage through possible trial may take as long as two years. The Family and Victim Advocate will remain in constant contact with you for as long as this period takes.
Our Family and Victim Advocate is specially trained by the National Child Advocacy Center to work with child victims of crime and their non-offending family members.