Step 4: Rebuilding Families – Family Advocacy
At the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo and Starr Counties (CACHSC), we know the trauma of child sexual abuse doesn’t only affect the victim. Non-offending family members may often feel a myriad of emotions such as:
- Fear of Violence
- Fear of Substance or Alcohol Abuse
It is important to keep in mind that these emotions are normal, given the severity of this type of trauma. You aren’t alone, and our Family Advocacy Program can help you heal, too.
Putting the Pieces Back Together
Our services may align with the emotional, physical, and financial needs of the victim and their family, but they go beyond that. Our staff gives support in prosecuting and convicting those responsible for the child sexual abuse when appropriate, and we help the victim and their family prepare for the trial process.
But what about after?
Family members also need help in coping with the emotional and physical needs of the victim going forward.
In our Family Advocacy Program, one of our advocates meets with caregivers during the child’s interview to review concerns, respond to questions, and go over any required support moving forward. They will be the guiding hand of the victim and family members with filling out referrals for evidence-based mental health services for all parties involved, along with referrals for any other necessary community resources.
Family Advocates go with families to court, offering their support and helping in acquiring orders of protection. Family Advocates also grant information regarding victim’s rights and the Victim Compensation program.
In the months following the interview, our Family Advocate stays in touch with caregivers with updates about the investigation, ensures interaction in services, and steadily supports families on their path to rebuilding their foundation. If the case goes to court, families are also assigned a Victim Witness Advocate (VWA) through the District Attorney’s Office.
In addition, CACHSC has developed Advanced Parenting Classes in an effort to heal families, educate participants on child abuse preventative strategies, and establish trust-based parenting skills. Parents or caregivers enrolling in these classes will learn more about child abuse awareness, improving communication and trust within the family, child safety, and self-care.