Frequently Asked Questions
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse can be defined as any sexual involvement or contact by an adult with a child. An older child or a child who is more powerful can also sexually abuse another child. Sexual contact includes inappropriate touching and sexual acts such as fondling, oral sex, and intercourse. Other types of abuse include exposure of a child to sexual movies, books, magazines and websites, taking pornographic pictures or recordings, or forcing a child to watch sexual; behavior between others. Child sexual abuse happens to both girls and boys.
What are the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse?
The signs and symptoms of sexual abuse are most likely to be behavioral. Behavioral indicators include nightmares or sleep disorders, withdraw or aggression, sexual knowledge beyond their age, running away, promiscuous behavior, frequent truancy, regressive behavior such as bed wetting or thumb sucking, lack of interest in life, withdrawal from friends and family, loss of appetite, and persistent scratching of genital area. A child may talk about “secrets” that they have with an adult or express fear of being alone with a particular adult. Pay attention to these comments and ask questions
Sometimes there are physical signs and symptoms of sexual abuse.
Physical symptoms include pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, soiled/stained underclothes, physical complaints with no apparent physical abuse such as head aches or stomach aches, rectal bleeding, pain, itching, bleeding, or bruises in or around the genital area, frequent urinary tract infections or blood in urine. The lack of physical symptoms does not rule out sexual abuse.
How can I protect my children?
Protecting children from child abuse is an adult’s responsibility. To learn more about how you can prevent child sexual abuse go to Darkness to Light.
Do you work with alleged perpetrators?
No. Alleged perpetrators are not allowed at CPC.
How much do your services cost?
There is no charge for our services. We never want a child to be turned away for services due to financial concerns.
Do children live at the Child Protection Center?
No, all of our services are outpatient.
Who do I speak with if I have questions before the appointment?
Please contact CPC’s Intake Coordinator at (816)-778-8000 with any questions. If she is not available, another member of the CPC staff will assist you. We look forward to seeing your family.
How long will our visit last?
The length of your appointment depends on how many children in your family are being interviewed, what your child discusses, and the length of time needed for you, law enforcement, child abuse investigator, and the Family Support Specialist to meet. In general, the visit for one child lasts about 2 hours.
How should I tell my child that he/she has to talk about this situation with a stranger – especially if they’ve already disclosed to me?
Tell your child that they will be meeting with someone who is a specialist (or you pick the word that will best relate to your child, i.e. an interviewer, a helper, etc) in talking to children and teenagers.
When should I tell my child this will be taking place?
Give your child enough notice so that they don’t feel it’s a surprise to them but also don’t give them too long a time period to worry about the appointment.
What if my child asks if I’ll be in the room with them?
Assure your child that while they are talking to the interviewer, you will be in a near-by room talking to someone.
What if my child says they don’t want to do this because they already told their story?
Tell your child that you understand their feelings of frustration, but also tell them how brave they were for telling in the first place and how proud you are of their honesty and bravery.
Should I bring anyone else with me to CPC?
Other parents have found it helpful to bring a friend to help supervise other siblings if they come along with the child who is to be interviewed. The person who allegedly abused your child cannot come to Child Protection Center.
How can I prepare for our visit to the CPC?
Please write down and bring with you any concerns you have about your child. You know your child best and your information is important to us. Before your appointment,, please do not discuss the abuse allegations with your child. If your child wants to talk, permit him or her to discuss it. At this time, however, it is best if you do not bring it up yourself. Tell them that you honestly don’t know exactly what will be asked but that you have every confidence in them that they’ll be honest and that the person will make them feel comfortable during the talk. Assure them that this person is a child-friendly person whose job it is to talk to kids about difficult things. Tell them you want him/her to answer all the questions the best they can and to tell the truth.
Give the child permission to talk about what they have disclosed. Be general in what you tell the child (i.e. “It’s ok to tell the interviewer what you told me (or whomever they told) happened to you when you were …………). Assure them that they are not in any trouble.
Assure your child that you will be nearby during the interview. Let your child know it is alright to talk to the people at CPC and that other kids come to CPC for forensic interviews.
What happens after we arrive?
Child Protection Center is a safe, child-friendly place where your child will meet with a Forensic Interviewer who has talked with many children and teenagers. Before the interview, the team members (Children’s Division investigator, law enforcement, Forensic Interviewer, and Family Support Specialist) meet briefly. The interviewer will come to the lobby, introduce herself to you and your child and then take your child to the interview room to begin the interview. The length of the interview depends on each child’s statements, needs, and specific circumstances.
During the interview, the interviewer will spend time getting to know your child and asking non-leading questions. The interview room is specially wired so that the interview can be digitally recorded on a DVD in order to preserve your child’s statement. Only one person will interview your child. A child abuse investigator, a detective and CPC staff observe the interview from another room.
After your child’s interview begins, the CPC Family Support Specialist meets with you.
After the interview is completed, the Interviewer, Family Support Specialist, detective, and Children’s Division investigator meet briefly. The detective and Children’s Division Investigator will then meet with you. They will tell you what they have learned and answer questions about what will happen next. Many times, they will need to ask you questions as well. Your child will remain in the lobby under the care of the receptionist while you meet with the detective and social worker.
After the interview
Should I ask my child about his/her experience?
You can certainly ask about how things went but don’t press them for specifics. Asking things like what the room was like and if the interviewer was nice are perfectly comfortable questions. It shows you’re interested in their experience but respect they may be uncomfortable about giving you too many details.
Should my child show signs of sadness or shame?
Most children feel relieved that they’ve been able to finally get their ‘secret’ out, so they may actually show signs of relief. They may just seem like their normal selves and want to play or do an activity that is fun. Some children may show feelings, such as sadness or fear about the circumstance.
How are you funded?
The Child Protection Center is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit agency. We are funded by a variety of sources including state and federal grants, foundations, corporations, proceeds from special events and gifts from individuals.