Child Advocacy Center Helps Young Abuse Victims

Article excerpt

Byline: Submitted by the Child Advocacy Center

The sexual abuse of a child is an unthinkable crime that betrays a child's trust, robs them of their innocence and may cause a lifetime of pain for the child, parents and those who love them. Yet the unthinkable happens every day.

Each year, more than 300 children in the North and Northwest suburbs of Cook County reveal that they have been victims of sexual abuse. More than 90 percent of the time the person who commits this offense is a family member or another person the child knows and trusts.

The Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County (CAC), located in Hoffman Estates, was founded in 1989 as a grass-roots effort to assist child victims of sexual assault and their families who were involved in child abuse investigations.

The highly qualified professional staff collaborates with local law enforcement agencies, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to conduct a single investigative interview with the child who may have been a victim of abuse. This interview takes place in a homelike setting at the Children's Advocacy Center.

Prior to the establishment of the CAC, child victims of sexual abuse were subjected to multiple interviews about their abuse by professionals from different agencies and were often interviewed in stressful locations such as police stations or hospital emergency rooms. …