FAQ               Advice to stop
                        child sexual abuse

             

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

What do I do if I am a victim of Domestic Violence?
If you are in immediate danger dial 911. If you have been injured as a result of Domestic Violence you should seek medical attention immediately and contact law enforcement. For information and answers to your questions you can call our local Domestic Violence Center Hotline at the Clarina Howard Nichols Center, 802-888-5256. You’ll talk to a caring person who’ll listen carefully without judging you or your situation. Advocates can help you think about your options and help you determine what will work best for you. The statewide hotline for Domestic Violence is 800-228-7395.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

What if I think I have been given a "Date-Rape" drug?
If you feel you have been victim of Date Rape drug, seek immediate medical treatment at any area hospital. For information and answers to your questions you can call our local Domestic/Sexual Violence Center Hotline at the Clarina Howard Nichols Center 802-888-5256. The statewide hotline for Sexual Violence is 800-489-7273. For more FAQS regarding date-rape drugs go to "Date Rape Drugs Fact Sheet".

Should I seek medical treatment even if I am not injured?
If you feel you or your child has been victimized, we strongly recommend having a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) exam at your local area hospital. Every hospital in Vermont offers a SANE examination. They are available to anyone requesting such an exam. SANE nurses are specially trained to examine and collect forensic evidence that could be helpful to the police if you are reporting the assault  For information and answers to your questions you can call our local Domestic/Sexual Violence Center Hotline at the Clarina Howard Nichols Center 802-888-5256. The statewide hotline for Sexual Violence is 800-489-7273.

What types of services are available to victims of sexual abuse?
A full time victim advocate is assigned to the LCCAC to assist you with your individual needs. Usually a victim of sexual assault will go to an Emergency Room to access services. You will be seen by a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). The SANE nurse explains the examination process to the victim and will ask the victim to fill out and sign a Sexual Assault Billing Form.The victim advocate provides many services such as connect you with area therapists, assist with travel, loss of wages, and keep you apprised of all legal proceedings. Letting victims know that they do not have to go through this process alone is our advocate’s utmost priority.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

What is Child Sexual Abuse?
While incidents of child sexual abuse are reported between 80,000 and 90,000[1] times per year, there is no doubt the number of actual incidents is much higher. There are several reasons why these crimes may not be reported, however one reason is may be the lack of understanding as to what child sexual abuse actually is.

Child sexual abuse is often thought of as sexual activity between an adult and a child. While this is generally correct, a more thorough definition would include “any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given.”[2] Force, threats, coercion may or may not factor into a sexual abuse incident. In addition, sexual contact between children may be abusive dependent on the age, cognitive and/or physical developmental of the children involved.

Sexual abuse does not always include contact between the individuals involved. Examples of non-contact child sexual abuse include displaying pornography to children, deliberately exposing one’s adult genitals to a child, photographing children in a sexual manner or pose, among others.

[1] American Academy for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – “Child Sexual Abuse” Facts for Families No. 9, Updated March 2011
[2] Berliner, L., Elliott, D., (2002). Sexual Abuse of Children. The APSAC handbook on Child Maltreatment, 2nd ed., 55

Should I report?
If you have a suspicion of abuse, your concern should be reported. Personnel are available to consult with and answer any questions. If there is an ongoing abuse situation, your input and information may be vital to the investigation. Please do not hesitate to call LCCAC (802-851-8116) or DCF (800-649-5285). Keep in mind that services may be available to you and or your child.

What are my/my child's rights as a victim of sexual violence?
If you or your child is a victim of sexual violence and your offender has been convicted and sentenced for the crime, you have the right to be notified by the Vermont Sex Offender Registry in writing of that offender's current address. This notification shall be made promptly when the offender initially registers with the Vermont Sex Offender Registry and any time thereafter that the offender changes his/her address.

Once I've made a report, will I (or my child) have to testify in court?
With the development of Special Investigation Units, investigations and prosecutions have become stronger and more victim centered. Only a very small percentage of cases actually go to trial.

What if my child says they don't want to meet with an interviewer because they already told their story?
Tell your child that you understand their feelings and understand how it is difficult to talk about. Tell them how proud you are of them for being brave and telling their story the first time. Let your child know that because of their honesty and bravery they will be able to help keep other children safe by telling their story to the interviewer.

What if my child asks what they have to say?
Tell your child you don't know exactly what will be asked but that you know they will be honest and that the person they will speak with will make them feel comfortable during the interview. Assure your child that the person they will be speaking with is a very child friendly person and that their job is to speak with kids about difficult things. Tell your child that you want them to answer all the questions as best they can and to tell the truth. Give your child permission to talk with the interviewer about what they disclosed. Be general in what you tell the child. For example, tell them "it's okay to tell the interviewer what you told me happened to you when you were..." If this conversation takes place do not repeat details of the disclosure and don't ask any questions relating to the incident.

When should I tell my child this will be taking place?
Give your child enough notice so that the interview doesn't come as a surprise to them, but not too much time so they worry about what may be expected of them. One to two days is generally enough time for them to feel comfortable with this appointment.

What is the role of DCF?
DCF and LCSIU co-investigate all cases involving child victims. In addition, DCF is present to access the safety of children and to reduce trauma to the child, by reducing the need for multiple interviews This comprehensive approach, with follow up services provided, ensures that children receive child focused services in a child friendly environment – one in which the child’s needs come first.

Can I participate in my child's interview?
In an effort to protect the integrity of the interview we strongly discourage parent participation. However instances may call for non-offending parents to observe the interview via closed circuit television. Our child friendly, state of the art facility provides a comfortable place for interviewing children.

What should I tell my child about his/her upcoming interview?
If a child has already disclosed to you (or someone else) and asks why they need to speak with someone else, tell your child they will be meeting with a specialist in talking to children. Tell your child that even though they've told things to you (or someone else), it's important to give the information to people trained to help protect children.

What services are available to me/my child?
Upon a finding of probable cause, the Vermont Victims Compensation Program is able to provide limited financial assistance to victims of violent crime who have experienced a financial loss as a direct result of the crime. Our Victim Advocate, Colleen Twomey will discuss and provide further information on this program. Please feel free to contact her at 802-888-0508 or ctwomey@clarina.org

Here is a partial list of losses that may be covered as long as there is not another source to pay for your losses such as insurance. Caps or limits may apply:

medical/dental
mental health counseling for victim and supportive counseling for family members that live in the household with the victim
funeral costs
lost wages
gas
crime scene clean-up
rent/relocation
safety/security
travel expenses/transportation costs
child care
boarding of pets
payment of pets that are injured/killed during the crime
temporary living expenses
eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, or any prosthetic device taken, lost, destroyed during the commission of a crime


GENERAL

Can I report a crime that happened years ago?
You can always report a crime; however, the investigation and prosecution may be limited in scope by the statute of limitations. It is best to call your local police department or LCCAC for more information.


What happens after I make a report?
Once The LCCAC has been assigned a case, we will schedule an interview at our new state of the art interview room at our newly located Child Advocacy Center. We have made every effort to make this process easier and more comfortable for the victim and their family. LCCAC detectives will travel to alternative locations to accommodate scheduling conflicts. Often times, LCCAC co-interviews with DCF in cases involving child victims.

MORE FAQS:

                                
  VULNERABLE ADULT ABUSE