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PURPOSE: Our purpose is to alleviate the trauma children experience once a disclosure of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse occurs by creating a community of collaborating advocates.
VISION: Our vision is a community where children live in a safe and nurturing environment free from sexual and physical abuse.
MISSION: Joining hands with community partners, we provide a safe and child friendly Center that supports the prevention, investigation and prosecution of child abuse.
Child Advocacy Center (CAC) Highlights
Based on national best practice and research, the CAC was founded in 1993 by a group of concerned local professionals seeking to coordinate services provided to child abuse victims and their families.
The CAC provides a safe and child-friendly environment where professionals from 19 community agencies come together to interview, investigate and provide support for abused children and their families.
The CAC reduces the number of interviews for child victims of abuse by providing specially trained professionals to conduct forensic interviews in a centralized location.
The CAC secures local, specialized medical evaluations for child abuse victims by highly-trained medical personnel. Prior to the establishment of the CAC, victims had to travel to UNC-Chapel Hill or Duke for exams.
- The CAC coordinates Multidisciplinary Team case reviews where professionals from multiple agencies come together to plan the best course of legal and supportive action for the child abuse victim. These agencies include law enforcement, medical care, mental health, military family services, social work, child protective services, the District Attorney’s office, victim advocates, education and Guardian ad Litem.
- National research has determined that this type of coordinated approach can help alleviate trauma for children, increase the prosecution rate of perpetrators, and be fiscally beneficial to the community. It is estimated that the CAC approach saves the community approximately $500,000 per year.
- In fiscal year 2012-2013, the CAC served 465 children and their families.
- The CAC also provides continuing education to professionals who serve child abuse victims and education for the public including:
- Darkness-to-Light Training to educate parents, grandparents and everyone who works with children on how to recognize, prevent and react responsibly to child sexual abuse
- Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse Training for professionals and organizations on how to recognize the signs of child abuse and how to report suspicions of child abuse.
- The CAC is a 501(c)3 organization and is funded through the generosity of corporate, state, organization and foundation grants; corporate and individual donations; in-kind contributions; and event sponsorships. There is no charge for most of the services that the CAC provides.
The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Cumberland County, NC recently compiled its annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. Some of these annual report statistics bear reporting to the public. The primary service that the CAC provides is a safe, child-friendly location for interviewing of children and coordination of referral programs when an allegation of sexual abuse and/or severe physical abuse has occurred. In Fiscal Year 2013 the CAC provided this service to 465 children. Do these numbers startle you? They should! The thought of one child in our community enduring this type of abuse is horrifying; much less 465! See our stats here - 2012-2013 Annual Report.