How can an advocate help my family?
HCCAC’s Family Advocates serve as the initial point of contact for children and families who are referred to the Center for services. They will be your advocate for the life of the case and will be available to you to answer questions, assist you with Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) paperwork, assist with referrals to appropriate community resources that may be able to help you with food, housing, medical or other needs, and accompany you and your child to court should you request it. Additionally, if you have questions about the status of your case Family Advocates can work as a liaison between you and law enforcement, Department of Family and Protective Services and/or the District Attorney’s office.
At HCCAC, the Family Advocate’s primary focus is to provide protective caregivers with immediate crisis intervention, ongoing case management and follow-up care so caregivers have the support they need to take care of their child, their family, and themselves.
How should I react to my child after the interview?
- Follow their lead. If they don’t bring up the interview, you don’t need to talk about it.
- Be careful not to interrogate (quiz or question) your child about the interview or abuse. A child who has experienced abuse may not want to disclose the details of that abuse to a parent no matter how well intentioned that parent is. Any questions you have may be asked of your Family Advocate, the CPS investigator or law enforcement investigator.
- Do let your child know that talking with the interviewer was the right thing to do and acknowledge the courage it took to do so.
- It is very important that your child be allowed to express his/her feelings. Spending special time with your child may help them share his/her feelings and thoughts with you.
- Be calm and supportive. It may be difficult to listen to what your child has to say, but your child needs to talk to someone who will believe and support him or her. Don’t share your feelings of frustration or helplessness with your child thereby overwhelming them with your emotions. If you need support, please reach out to your Family Advocate or a trusted friend or family member.
- Do not lead your child to believe that the interview is the only part of the legal process in which they are involved. It is possible that your child will be interviewed again or asked to testify in court. Explain to your child (in an age-appropriate way) what the investigative (and possibly prosecution) process will entail. The professionals involved, and Advocacy Center Staff, can help you do this.
If you are a current HCCAC client and need support, please call us at 512-756-2607 and ask to speak with a Family Advocate.