Information About Child Abuse for Responders
The Role of the First Responder Is To Establish Child Safety
First responders are often law enforcement officers or DHS CPS Caseworkers. A field interview may be necessary to establish child safety, but minimal information should be gathered during a field interview. After child safety has been established, a referral to the Amani Center should be made for a Forensic Assessment to be completed.
To coordinate a referral to the Amani Center, click here.
If you would like to learn more about Columbia County’s coordinated response to child abuse and neglect, click here.
The Role of the First Responder is to...
Minimal Facts to consider:
- What happened?
(Where on the child’s body did the touching take place and what type of force or coercion – if any — was involved?)
- What jurisdiction?
(Check for more than one.)
- When did it happen?
(First me it occurred? Last me? How often?)
- Who is/are alleged perpetrators?
- Are there other victims or witnesses?
- What steps are necessary to protect the child or other victims?
(Does the suspect have access to siblings or other children?)
- Safety/Team Investigation: My job is to make sure you are safe. I may contact some other people on my team to help with your child’s protection and investigation.
- No Details Now: Your child won’t have to tell me all the details about what happened now.
- Outcry/Minimal Information: I just need to have enough information to establish that a crime occurred, the identity of the offender, and to address your child’s safety & medical needs.
- CAC Interview: We will schedule an interview at your local child-friendly CAC at a me that is best for you and your child. A trained interviewer will talk with your child and obtain information in a non-threatening manner.
- Collecting Evidence: We are going to need to take pictures of where things happened. We may need to borrow clothing or sheets as well as any drawings, texts, emails, or letters about this
- Advise the Non-Offending Caregiver:
- Please don’t bring up what happened with your child, and avoid having conversations or phone calls about this in front of your child. Please try to remain calm about this around your child.
- The people at the CAC will help you find a counselor who can help your family get through this.
- Even if you aren’t convinced about everything that is being said, please let us do our investigation. The most important thing for your child is to tell him/her that you DO support and believe him/her.