The CAC Advocacy program is critical to the success of child abuse investigations and to helping children and families receive compassionate services at the Center.
Victim Witness Advocates from the District Attorney’s Office provide support and assistance to children and families experiencing the trauma of child abuse. Advocates educate families about the roles of each investigating agency at the Center, the investigation process, and the services that are in place to help children and families. Advocates can access services in several different languages.
The Advocate’s Role:
The Advocate observes the child’s forensic interview, as part of the multi-disciplinary team. After the interview the Advocate, together with the multi-disciplinary team will meet with the family to explain what may happen next in the investigation. Throughout the investigation, the Advocate will update the family of any court dates, familiarize the child and family with the courthouse, and provide court accompaniment.
Linkage to Community Resources:
Based on the needs of the family, the Advocate can provide resources located close to the family’s home. These referrals, such as medical, mental health, housing, safety, and crisis intervention, are provided through a network of service providers.
The Advocate will provide information about the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Victim Compensation Program, which provides financial assistance to victims of crime.
The Advocate can assist a family with the paperwork necessary to file for victim compensation.
Should the case go forward with prosecution, the Advocate monitors and informs the family of the status of the court case and educates the family about the court process. The Advocate works closely with the Assistant District Attorney handling the case. The Advocate will take the child to visit the courtroom to familiarize the child with the surroundings. The Advocate will accompany the family to court to provide assistance, support, and explain proceedings.