A Safe Place for Children
Children who may have been harmed come to the Walworth County Child Advocacy Center, located at the Tree House, to talk about the abuse and/or get medical care. It is a safe place for children to receive help. The Child Advocacy Center staff does case reviews, and provides expert court testimony and professional consultations.
A forensic interview gives children a safe, comfortable place to talk about being harmed or hurt. A specially trained interviewer gathers information from children following a set of guidelines so there is no additional harm caused to the children, and the integrity of the investigation is maintained. Specific details about what happened are gathered. The interview is video-recorded to memorialize the children’s statement, which is often used during the legal process.
These are the basic steps of a child abuse investigation:
- Someone reports suspicion of abuse to authorities.
- The authorities respond and begin a preliminary investigation.
- If appropriate, a video-recorded interview is done with the child at the Child Advocacy Center.
- If appropriate, a medical exam is done.
- A team of professionals will meet to talk about the case. They decide what else needs to be done. Doctors, nurses, prosecutors, police officers and social workers may be a part of the team.
- A police officer and/or child protective services worker will continue the assessment and investigation.
- The case may be referred to criminal court or children’s court. Other plans also may be made to manage the case.