Preparing for a CAC Visit
Child Abuse Statistics
Signs of Child Abuse
If A Child Discloses To You
Preparing For A Cac Visit
What is a forensic interview?
It is an interview conducted by a specially trained professional who is experienced in talking to children about difficult subjects. They take into account your child’s emotional needs and developmental level in order to speak to them in a non-threatening, child-friendly manner. This allows the investigators to obtain an impartial account of your child’s abuse that is both accurate and as complete as possible without causing further trauma to your child. The interviewer will not pressure your child to talk if she/he is not ready. Please inform the interviewer of any special needs your child has before the interview takes place.
What should I tell my child about the interview?
Most importantly, let them know they are NOT in any trouble. Assure your child that the Children’s Advocacy Center is a safe place to talk in private, and that everyone is here to help. Do not question your child about the abuse. If your child brings it up, listen without commenting or questioning and take note of what they say. Do not have your child practice what to say.
Can I watch the interview?
No. Knowing a parent is watching often increases a child’s stress and makes them less likely to talk. In addition, anyone who observes the interview is a potential witness should the case go to trial. If a parent/guardian is a witness, they are NOT allowed to be with their child for support in the courtroom should the case go to trial.
How many people will be in the room with my child during the interview?
One. Only the interviewer is in the room with your child. All other team members observe the interview from a nearby room using closed-circuit technology.
What is a multidisciplinary team, and who is on the team?
In addition to the forensic interviewer, the multidisciplinary team (MDT) may include representatives from law enforcement, the Department of Children’s Services, the District Attorney’s office, health care practitioners and CAC staff. By including all members of the team in the investigation, you and your child avoid facing several interviews by the many agencies that may be involved.
How long will I be at the CAC, and what should I bring?
Be prepared to spend one and a half to two hours at the CAC. Interviews usually last 45-60 minutes. After the interview, you will meet with the MDT and ask any questions that you have. Try to bring another adult with you for support and to watch your child when you meet with the team. Avoid bringing other children with you, if at all.
Child Abuse Hotline
Tennessee Code Annotated: §37-1-403. All persons (including doctors, mental health professionals, child care providers, dentists, family members, and friends) must report suspected child abuse or neglect. Failure to report child abuse or neglect is a violation of the law.