What is a Child Advocacy Center?
A Child Advocacy Center, or CAC for short, is a location where children who have been the victims or witnesses to abuse can be interviewed by a trained professional interviewer, with the help of a multi-disciplinary team, in a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment.
What is a Multi-Disciplinary Team?
A multi-disciplinary team or “MDT” is a collaboration of law enforcement, prosecutors, and child welfare professionals. They work together at the time of an interview of a child who may be the victim of abuse or neglect. The team will ensure that when an interview of a child victim is attempted, the interview will result in a statement which is as full, complete, and accurate as possible. This approach limits the need of further interviews and helps to prevent the child victim from being interviewed multiple times.
Why is a Child Advocacy Center Important?
Rather than using a police department or hospital emergency room, having a Child Advocacy Center allows for the creation of a comfortable, child friendly environment where victims of abuse and neglect can interviewed. By using such a facility, a host of advantages emerge such as:
- Increasing communication between investigative agencies
- Reducing the number of interviews a child must endure, which in turn reduces the negative impact such a procedure can have
- Reducing the time spent by victims and their families rehashing a traumatic event as all services are provided at a centralized location
- Enabling quicker prosecutions due to the efficiency of the case processing