Since 2010, the CACWC has been an accredited member of the National Children's Alliance (NCA). The NCA was formed in response to the growing number of children's advocacy centers across the United States, and the demand for guidance, training and standards of practice. The NCA set forth 10 basic standards by which the CACWC is organized. Through regional advocacy centers, the NCA provides support and guidance to developing and existing advocacy centers throughout the country. The CACWC is a member of the Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Center (MRCAC) located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
What is a children's advocacy center (CAC)?
In the mid 80's in Huntsville, Alabama, the children's advocacy center movement was established by district attorney Bud Kramer. Kramer was seeing children at the end of their case to prosecute their perpetrator and felt that his cases were being compromised by how many times the child had to tell their story. His cases were falling apart and Kramer realized the need for a more coordinated response. He began his first children's advocacy center and the movement began to spread. Huntsville, Alabama remains the home to the National Children's Advocacy Center.
Imagine 7 year old Robin Robin liked playing with dolls, going to school, and eating ice cream. However, Robin was being sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend and was afraid to tell anyone because she was told she would get in trouble. Although Robin is a fictional character, her story is common and can happen anywhere.
Before children's advocacy centers existed, Robin would have told her story to a number of people. She may have started by telling a teacher, followed by a school nurse, a children's services worker, an officer, and so forth. By the time the case was ready to be prosecuted, she would have been asked to tell her story to a possible 15 or more people. Having to share their story with this many only traumatizes a child more because they are continually having to relive the abuse.
When children tell their history of abuse multiple times, they can become weary of retelling all the details and sometimes even take back the whole thing because they don't want to talk about it anymore.
With the current system of CACs, children are not re-traumatized by the system that is meant to protect them. Instead, they are brought to a place like the CAC of Warren County where they can share their experience a minimal number of times and receive the help they need. The child is able to sit down with a trained interviewer who will listen to all the details of the abuse. The interview is recorded and may be observed by a detective, victim advocate, and child protective services worker. This way everyone who needs to hear the child's story is able to without having to re-traumatize the child by her telling it over and over again. Watch this short video entitled "How CACs help kids."
Child Advocacy Center of Warren County | 320 East Silver St. | Lebanon | Ohio | 45036
Phone: 513.695.3100 | Fax: 513.695.3120