Providing Victim Advocacy
Child-Focused Forensic Interviews
LifeHouse Child Advocacy Center coordinates the investigative interviews of children alleging sexual abuse or severe physical abuse in and around Shawnee County. After a report of abuse is made to child protective services (SRS) or law enforcement, a child may be scheduled for his or her investigative interview to be conducted at our child-friendly facility. Our Interview Specialists, specifically trained in forensic practices, conduct the interviews. Care is taken to assess the child's cognitive skills, language development, and suggestibility. Investigation professionals observe the interview by closed-circuit television while the child's statement is recorded on DVD. These practices ensure comprehensive and quality interviews while reducing the number of times a child must make a statement, thus greatly reducing the child's trauma.
During the child’s interview, LifeHouse CAC staff meet with the non-offending family members to provide additional support, inform them about specialized therapeutic services and community resources, and provide an understanding of the legal process. The advocates also provide the family members with educational information that can be used to better equip them to deal with the circumstances as well as resources for additional reading on the subject of abuse. Our Victim Advocates are trained to refer families to professionals and agencies that have special training, skills and services in trauma and victimization.
Multidisciplinary Case Review
Following the child's interview, LifeHouse CAC personnel meet with the investigation team, including child protection workers, law enforcement officers, medical personnel, mental health professionals and prosecution to plan investigation strategies. Our case tracking system allows LifeHouse to follow the progress of each case through the child protection and criminal justice systems. The coordination of these services significantly reduces the child's trauma, enhances the quality of the investigation and improves prosecution and conviction rates of child abuse cases.
Education & Training
LifeHouse staff coordinate and conduct training for law enforcement, child welfare staff, prosecutors, mental health and medical providers on specialized issues related to child abuse investigations, assessment and the children’s advocacy center model.