Victim Advocate Services
What is a victim advocate?
Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime and their caregivers. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources and filling out paperwork. An advocate will assist you with the following:
- Providing information on all services offered through Great Basin Children’s Advocacy Center
- Providing information on victimization
- Providing information on crime prevention
- Providing information on victims’ legal rights and protections
- Providing information on the criminal justice process
- Providing emotional support to victims
- Helping with victim compensation applications
- Providing referrals for other services for victims and caregivers
A victim advocate will discuss many options with you regarding therapy for you and your child. Your victim advocate will also offer your child resources for therapy after your child has been interviewed by the forensic interviewer.
Therapists are professionals with specialized training who deliver trauma-focused, evidence-supported, mental health treatment. They also provide a safe place for children to talk about what has happened to them if they choose. CAC therapists will never force your child to talk about the abuse if they choose not to. Therapists are trained to talk to kids who have been victims of abuse.
My child seems fine. Why does my child need therapy?
Children deal with difficult experiences in many different ways. Even if your child seems fine, they must still have questions or distressing thoughts about what occurred. Many children may not display any symptoms of abuse. Issues from abuse may emerge early in life or later, and the earlier a therapist sees a child the better it is for the child and family when those issues arise. Therapy can help give your child the tools necessary to deal with what has happened so your child can readjust to life. Without effective therapy, long-term and adverse social, emotional, developmental, and health outcomes may impact children throughout their lifetimes.
I want my child to forget that this ever happened.
It is natural to wish the abuse away. It is natural to want everything to go back the way it was before the abuse or the disclosure. Therapists will never force a child to talk about what has happened. The therapist will simply provide a safe place for your child to talk about what has happened and to help them process what has happened to them.
My child doesn’t want to talk about the abuse. I don’t want to force my child to talk.
When abuse occurs there is often a lot of secrecy that surrounds the act. That same secrecy makes it hard for children to disclose their abuse and talk about it openly. That same secrecy increases the chances that children may hold on to thoughts and feelings about themselves that are not healthy. This can negatively impact their ability to function in some areas of their lives.
Having your child in counseling is another way to communicate to them that they can talk about what has happened to them, and to make sure they have all the support they need to be healthy. Trained therapists who have experience working with children who have been abused will never force your child to talk about abuse. A trained therapist will use specific tools and techniques to assist your child’s healing process.