In the United States, it is reported that one of every four adult females and one of seven to nine adult males has been a victim of some type of sexual abuse. When there is a concern of possible child sexual abuse, most communities take a multi-disciplinary team approach to investigating these cases. This means that A Child’s Place coordinates services with a team including law enforcement, child protective services and victim services, as needed. Since the majority of child abuse investigations involve the criminal justice and the child protective services systems, we work together as closely as possible as early as possible.
Parents often feel responsible for protecting their children. However, people who prey on young children are people we would rarely expect to cause harm. Often they are people we trust and have close contact with our children, for example, family members, relatives, babysitters, teachers, and others who come in contact with children on a daily basis. Only a small percentage of child abuse is done by strangers.
Children are generally lured by abusers in a low-key manner, and the activity is presented as something “special” or “fun” by the abuser. Once children are engaged in these activities, they are persuaded to keep this relationship a secret. The child often keeps secrets for a variety of reasons including:
A Child’s Place focuses on the best interests of the child. The children are our patients, and we don’t want the interview and examination process to cause additional trauma to the child. The vast majority of our patients do very well during the process if they have supportive environments in their homes.