What we do
The forensic interview is the first step in helping the child victim. This is scheduled after the alleged abuse is reported. The forensic interview is recorded and conducted one-on-one with the child in a safe space.
This interview is monitored through closed-circuit television by representatives of law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office, and Child Protective Services in a separate room. The victim’s parents and caregivers are not permitted in the interview or in the observation room throughout the interview. These recordings then become the property of the Hidalgo and Starr County District Attorney’s Offices, the CACHSC does not keep them.
Law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office, and Child Protective Services (CPS) use this interview to collect a family history, as well as all relevant information, to discern the facts surrounding the allegations made.
Therapists provide trauma-focused, child-friendly interventions that help restore the childhood and future of each victim. Although most therapy clients are child victims, the CACHSC understands that the trauma resulting from abuse does not only affect the victim, but their non-offending family members as well.
For this reason, the CACHSC provides therapy and counseling services to victims and their non-offending family members. Therapy at the CACHSC is provided by full-time licensed and board-certified mental health professionals as well as supervised master’s level student interns in the fields of social work, psychology, and rehabilitative counseling.
Therapy is conducted by utilizing evidence-based best practices and interventions to ensure the utmost quality of care.
The CACHSC Family Advocacy Program is a key component to the overall success of child abuse assessments. The Family Advocacy Program serves as the connection between the child victim, their family, and the multidisciplinary team.
Our Family Advocacy Program provides undivided attention, support, and guidance to our child victims and their non-offending family members to mitigate trauma and identify their needs, which include:
- Counseling services
- Medical care
- Other living necessities
Depending on the family, our Family Advocate offers referrals and the coordination of additional services (family/social). The Family Advocate also provides the family with assistance and guidance when completing the Texas Attorney General’s Crime Victims Compensation Program which provides financial assistance to victims of violent crimes. For more information, visit www.oag.state.tx.us.
The SANE exam ensures keeping the child victim’s health and well-being top priority. This exam is provided by a certified SANE nurse and includes a detailed physical exam along with photo documentation of possible physical damage that is not visible to the naked eye. The SANE exam, via the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, allows for collection of evidence that may be present on the child victim’s body or clothes.
The purpose of this exam is to diagnose and treat medical conditions related to sexual abuse and to collect forensic evidence that may be present on the child victim’s body (if the exam is completed within 120 hours of contact), in a reassuring and safe environment.
What You Can Do To Help
The first step toward fighting child abuse is education. Educate yourself on abuse and neglect and use this information to educate others. If you see child abuse, report it! Do your part to keep children safe.
Be intentional in your role as a parent, family member, neighbor, teacher, or friend. Together, we can help child abuse victims heal and grow and stopping other children from becoming victims.