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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when my child comes to Braveheart?

The Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) office is a child-friendly facility. Here, our dedicated staff welcomes both the child and their family, explaining what to expect during their visit. While the child undergoes the interview process, our team provides parents or guardians with information about available education, support, and treatment services for the child and any non-offending family members. CAC services begin at the referral stage and remain available until the family decides they no longer require assistance, irrespective of the case's outcome.

What happens during a forensic interview and how do I prepare my child for it?

During a forensic interview, a specially trained professional will talk to your child in a child-friendly and non-threatening manner. The interviewer will ask questions to help the child tell what happened to them in their own words, without leading or suggesting answers. 

It's important to be honest with your child about why they are going to the interview and reassure them that it is a safe place where they will be listened to and supported. You can also let them know what to expect during the interview.

Why is the forensic interview recorded? Can I watch the interview aftewards? 

The forensic interview is recorded to create an accurate and objective record of the child's statement. This recording can be used in court to minimize the child's need to testify and to ensure that their statement is accurately represented.

Parents or family members are not allowed to view the interview.  Only agencies with investigative responsibilities on a case are permitted to observe the forensic interview.  The interview is part of an investigation and anyone viewing the interview could be served by a court subpoena.

Will my child's visit to the CAC be kept confidential?

Yes, Braveheart CAC takes confidentiality very seriously. Information about your child's visit will only be shared with individuals directly involved in their care and will not be disclosed without your consent, except as required by law,

Does it cost to bring my child to the CAC for services?

No, all services provided by the CAC are free of charge to families. The CAC is funded through grants, donations, and government funding to ensure that all children have access to the help they need.

How is Braveheart funded if services are free?

Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) are funded through a combination of government grants, private donations, fundraising events, and community support. This diverse funding approach ensures that CACs can continue to provide vital services to child abuse victims and their families, covering operational costs, staff salaries, and program expenses. 

All services are provided at no cost to the child victims and their non-offending family members and/or caregivers regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, age, limited English proficiency (LEP), hearing impairment, sexual orientation, gender identity or other protected class. 

What should I do if I think a child is being abused?

To report suspected child abuse in Illinois, call your local police department or 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873). If the incident occurred in a different state, call the child protective services for that state.

What should I say if my child discloses abuse to me?

-Thank you for confiding in me. Your courage is admirable, and I want you to know that you are safe with me.

-It's not your fault, and you did the right thing by speaking up.

-You are incredibly important to me, and I will do everything in my power to protect you.

As a parent or caregiver, it can be difficult to hear that your child disclosed to someone else before you. You may feel a range of emotions, but it's important to remember that your child was likely trying to protect you. 

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