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No, most of the kids who recieve services at the CAC are able to stay in their homes. There are some situations, however, when a child isn’t safe to live at home. When that is the case, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services works to place kids with extended family, when possible, or foster care.
No, custody and visitation are handled by Juvenile Court.
The Memphis Child Advocacy Center is not a police station. However, we do provide office space for staff from partner agencies, including law enforcement.
The Memphis Child Advocacy Center (CAC) provides services and a central location for several agencies that help families after reported abuse. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) is one of those agencies. DCS investigators work to identify needs and find resources for vulnerable children and their families. DCS also manages the state-wide child abuse hotline. Click here for information on how our team of agencies work together.
There are a number of indicators of possible sexual abuse, and many times, there are no signs at all. Sexually abused kids may have behavioral changes, be fearful of specific people or situations, begin acting like a younger child (regressive behaviors) or display sexual behaviors or knowledge at a young age. If you suspect abuse, it is important to report it. You do not need proof. Click here for information on reporting suspected abuse.
It is rare for a child to make a false allegation of child sexual abuse. The forensic interview process helps sort out situations in which a child isn’t telling the truth, or has been coached by an adult.
When provided the support and therapy they need, kids are amazingly resilient. Evaluation shows that kids who graduate from therapy at the Memphis CAC have significantly reduced or eliminated post-traumatic symptoms, anger, and anxiety. They have a real chance at a bright future.
Most sexually abused children do not grow up to become adult sex offenders. When children who were abused do not get help, they are at risk for a host of harmful long-term effects, however. Visit the ACE Awareness Foundation website for information on the negative health outcomes for adult survivors of childhood abuse.
If you suspect your child, or any child, has been abused, the first step is to report your suspicions to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services hotline, or to law enforcement. Click here for more information on reporting suspected abuse.
Parents are not permitted to sit with their child during a forensic interview. Our interviewers are trained in ways to help kids feel comfortable. During the interview, parents meet with an advocate or investigator to learn more about the process of investigation, next steps, and resources.
No. The Memphis Child Advocacy Center has a strict policy of confidentiality. The Memphis CAC never shares information about the children, families or investigations with media, or on social media. Forensic interview video is shared only with investigators, prosecutors and, if needed, in court.
The investigative team may decide to repeat a forensic interview if there is reason to believe that the child wasn’t ready.
When the investigative team assesses that a forensic medical exam is indicated, your child will go to the on-site medical clinic operated by the Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center for the exam. Medical exams are conducted by specially trained nurse practitioners.
Child sexual abuse usually happens with no witnesses. There is often no medical evidence. Some victims are too young to take the stand. Many children never tell a safe adult what happened to them. The child advocacy model was developed by a prosecutor to improve prosecution rates and make the justice system less traumatizing to young victims. Research shows the model is working to make changes; prosecution rates have increased in the past two decades.
First, it is important to note that most sex offenders have not been caught. So, the first line of defense is to get training on ways to reduce risk (click here to learn more about training). You can search the sex offender registry by location through the U.S. Department of Justice website or in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation website.
The first step is to get the facts about child abuse. Take our Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training. Stewards training helps parents, professionals and volunteers who work with kids learn how to recognize, respond, and prevent child sexual abuse.
Training sessions held at community organizations typically have a small workbook fee. However, twice a month we offer training sessions that are free. Contact prevention@MemphisCAC.org for more information, and to inquire about scholarships.
The training is for adults. The Memphis CAC will provide training at settings across Shelby County. It is ideal that the staff and volunteers at organizations that serve kids get trained together when possible. We also offer open enrollment sessions. These are ideal for individuals or groups of 10 or less. Contact our prevention team for more info at 901.888.4363.