When there are allegations of child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse, there are many reasons why law enforcement and DCFS caseworkers use a CAC. Some of the most important reasons are:
1. The forensic interview, education sessions, child counseling, as well as adult/non-offending parent counseling can all be done at the same facility.
2. Staff members trained to work specifically with victims of sexual abuse and assault
3. Child-friendly environment that is suitable for children of all ages. There are also studies that show when a child is seen at a CAC, caregivers are more satisfied with the experience and outcome of their case.
There is evidence that a CAC successfully improves the experience of the non-offending caregiver's experience during a sexual assault investigation, due to more support from investigators and a greater sense of safety and comfort during interviews (L.M. Jones et al. / Child Abuse & Neglect 31 (2007) 1069–1085).
At Hearts of Hope: Children's Advocacy Center, we work hard to ensure that each case is investigated to its full potential without re-traumatizing the client. We want to make sure that the child is safe, but also be sure that their mental and emotional health is taken care of, as well. We understand that going through the investigative process is hard, and we use every resource we have to help families get back to their normal lives.