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OPEN HEARTS CHILD ADVOCACY CENTRE

Where small voices can be heard

Open Hearts Child Advocacy Centre

Open Hearts Child Advocacy Centre provides a child-friendly, safe and neutral location in which law enforcement and Child Protective Services investigators may conduct and observe forensic interviews with children who are alleged victims of crimes, and where the child and non-offending family members receive support, crisis intervention and referrals for mental health and medical treatment.

What is a Child Advocacy Centre?

Child advocacy centers (CACs) are community-based, child-friendly, multidisciplinary services for children and families affected by sexual abuse or severe physical abuse. CACs bring together, often in one location, child protective services investigators, law enforcement, prosecutors, and medical and mental health Professionals to provide a coordinated, comprehensive response to victims and their caregivers. We provide the leading practice in addressing the mental health needs of children who have experienced sexual abuse, while ensuring a co-ordinated investigation and prosecution of cases in a manner which serves the developmental & emotional needs of children.

Our Multi-Disciplinary Team :

Open Hearts Multi-Disciplinary Team include Doctor, psychotherapist, lawyers, forensic interviewers and volunteers, interface with the Police, Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Mental Health and Medical Professionals and enable a multi-disciplinary approach to attending to cases of child sexual abuse.

Providing a safe environment to make disclosures,
stop the abuse, stop gender based violence and get help.

Project Example

WHAT MAKES A CHILD ADVOCACY CENTRE SPECIAL?

The Centre reduces the trauma suffered by children and give child forensic interview.
  • It reduces trauma to child victims by bringing all disciplines together and sharing information more efficiently to minimize duplication.
  • CACs coordinate multidisciplinary teams composed of law enforcement officers, child protective service personnel, prosecutors, advocates, mental health therapists and medical personnel.
Project Example
Sub heading for the project
  • The multidisciplinary team meets regularly to communicate and collaborate on child maltreatment cases.
  • Cases are reviewed beginning with the victim’s initial outcry through investigation, treatment and prosecution.
Project Example

SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE CHILD ADVOCACY CENTRE INCLUDE:

Treatment
  • Providing information concerning medical and mental health services, examinations, evaluations;
  • Conducting multidisciplinary team case review meetings and provide working space for liaison staff;
  • Providing crisis intervention and emotional support through our Child Advocacy Program, from the disclosure of abuse.

Services provided by the Child Advocacy Centre include:

    Treatment
  • Providing information concerning medical and mental health services, examinations, evaluations;
  • Providing specialised medical evaluation and treatment as part of the Child Advocacy Centre response.
  • Conducting multidisciplinary team case review meetings and provide working space for liaison staff;
  • Providing a consistent, comfortable child-friendly setting for children youth and their families, where they can feel safe and cared for;
  • Providing crisis intervention and emotional support through our Child Advocacy Program, from the disclosure of abuse, throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case.
  • Providing therapy for children. Individual, group, and play therapy are offered. Teens and their care-givers may participate in the Survivors support group.
    • Investigation & Prosecution
    • Our Multi-Disciplinary team interfaces with the Police, Ministry of Justice, etc.to attend to all cases of child sexual abuse
    • Assisting in the investigations of sexual abuse cases by carrying out neutral, fact finding and coordinated forensic interviews of children and non- offending family members, by trained professionals in a child-friendly non-threatening environment, where disclosure of abuse is made to the helpline or at the Centre;
    • Ensuring that thorough police investigations are carried out, and successful prosecutions are achieved;
    • Limiting the number of times each child is interviewed;
    • Limiting the children’s need to travel to various investigative and child protective agencies;
    • Being the advocate for the child and family throughout the process;
    • Providing children and families with all necessary support to achieve successful outcomes;
      Prevention Education & Resources
    • Providing community resources to communities, and church groups about the services, along with information and statistics about child abuse. Providing Adult prrvention programs;
    • Providing age-appropriate prevention education programs to children. Providing a resource library - books, tapes, and other materials to be available for children and their families. In addition, a professional resource selection is provided for those working on child abuse cases.
    • Providing professional continuing education for all professionals working in child abuse. Carrying out annual major child abuse campaigns to make the community aware of the magnitude of the problem in our region.