“It is important for people to know that no matter what lies in their past, they can overcome the dark side and press on to a brighter world.”– A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
To understand what a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is, one must understand what young victims of abuse face without one. Without a CAC, a child may end up re-traumatized by telling the worst story of their life over and over again to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges and many others. They experience the stress of going to a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or face the real possibility of being asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other friendly adult that ends up damaging the case against their abuser.
Brighter World CAC will provide a safe, child-focused environment for police or child protective services to bring children who may be experiencing abuse. At Brighter World, the child will tell their story only once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child.
Then, a team of medical providers, law enforcement, mental health specialists, prosecutors, child protective services, victim advocates, and other professionals will collectively make decisions about how to support the child and family while guarding the integrity of the process for potential legal action. Brighter World will offer not only therapy and medical exams, but also courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management and other services.
Child abuse and neglect are awful to think about; rather than turning a blind-eye, you can become a powerful force for improving the status quo, providing needed resources and making a huge difference in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. We all have a role to play in making sure that we, as a community, are doing everything in our power to ensure our youth can flourish.
Our community is one of the last in the state to establish a Child Advocacy Center and our children deserve a centralized facility and skilled professionals when dealing with the trauma of abuse. Together, we can build a safer community—and a Brighter World—by ensuring that young victims of abuse are completely supported, with a real chance to survive their trauma and go on to experience full, vibrant lives.
We plan to open the doors of Brighter World CAC this summer, but need your support to get the program up and running. To learn more or to donate, please go to www.brighterworldcac.org or contact Lisel Petis at 970-879-2034 ext 106, or [email protected].