Frequently Asked Questions
Does a referral to the CAC mean that my child was abused?
Not necessarily. When allegations of abuse are made, the MDT has the mandate to investigate these allegations thoroughly. Sometimes these allegations are substantiated, and other times they are not. Interviews are done in a manner that is neutral and is not done to “prove” abuse occurred. A forensic interview is only one piece of an entire investigation. It is likely that there will be other sources of information considered and reviewed to ensure the safety of your child.
What happens during the interview?
Your child will be interviewed in a child-friendly room with a specially trained forensic interviewer. The interviewer asks neutral, fact-finding questions in a developmentally and culturally appropriate manner. The interview will be videotaped to make an accurate record of this encounter, this may also help reduce the need for repeat interviews.
Should I prepare my child for this interview?
Children are most comfortable when they know what to expect. Explain to your child that he or she will be meeting with a person whose job is to talk with children. You should NOT tell your child what to say. Please be mindful of conversations you have with others around your child as it could influence the information he/she shares during his/her interview. Reassure your child that he or she is not in trouble and that it is ok to talk to the interviewer and that it is important, to tell the truth.
May I stay with my child during the interview?
The interviewer must talk with your child alone. It is difficult for children to talk about the abuse they may have experienced and difficult for parents to hear. Having a parent in the room may distract or inhibit children during the interview. Children may also want the parent to answer questions for them. It is best if the child can provide information independently.
What will happen after the interview?
The Law Enforcement assigned to the case and/or the Department for Children and Families (DCF) investigator may want to talk with you before and/or after the interview. At this time, they may be able to tell you what may happen next regarding the investigation. This may also be a good time for you to share information and your concerns.
May I bring a friend or family member to wait with me?
You are more than welcome to bring a support person with you to the CAC. You will also have an advocate assigned to you and your child. However, you should not bring the person being accused of maltreatment.
What is the advantage of having my child interviewed at the CAC?
Your child is our top priority. The CAC provides a place that is friendly, private and safe for children to talk. The forensic interview and the MDT approach reduce the trauma your child may experience by limiting the number of times his/her story is told. Services for your family will be better coordinated, and you will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the people working on your child’s case.
First, take a deep breath. We are here for YOU!
Understand Why Children Are Afraid to Tell
MOST CHILD VICTIMS NEVER REPORT THE ABUSE.
Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who "tell" and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood. It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn't come from strangers but from friends and family.
The abuser shames the child, points out that the child let it happen, or tells the child that his or her parents will be angry.
The abuser is often manipulative and may try to confuse the child about what is right and wrong.
The abuser sometimes threatens the child or a family member.
Some children who do not initially disclose abuse are ashamed to tell when it happens again.
Children are afraid of disappointing their parents and disrupting the family.
Some children are too young to understand.
Many abusers tell children the abuse is "okay" or a "game."