What happens at the Gordon County Child Advocacy Center (GCCAC)?
The GCCAC is a safe, child-friendly location for children to come speak with trained interviewers about difficult issues. While your child is talking to a forensic interviewer, you will meet with a Family Advocate who will go over the paperwork, explain the process, and answer any questions that you might have. We work with a multidisciplinary team of professionals that includes law enforcement and the Gordon County Division of Family and Children Services. These professionals will be in attendance for your child’s interview, and if able, you will have the opportunity to speak with them following your child’s interview.
What do I tell my child about coming to the Child Advocacy Center?
You might tell your child: “We are going to a special place where kids go to talk about important stuff. The person you will be talking to talks to lots of kids about different things. It’s okay to answer their questions and tell them everything. You are not in any trouble.” It is important that you do not, however, discuss the details of your child’s statement before the interview.
Will I be able to watch my child’s interview?
No. The forensic interview is considered evidence in an investigation. Therefore, only professionals directly involved in the investigation are allowed to observe the forensic interview. All of the interviews at the GCCAC are recorded to minimize the number of times your child will have to talk about what happened. The recording of the interview is turned over to law enforcement as part of evidence in a potential criminal case. According to law, we are unable to release the recording to parents or concerned family members.
Who talks with my child?
Your child will be talking to one of our trained forensic interviewers. They have attended basic and advanced training on how to talk to children about difficult subjects. It’s important that any details about the alleged abuse be coming from the child. Our interviewers are trained to not ask suggestive or leading questions and move at a pace that is comfortable to your child. They never force a child to talk to them.
What will I be doing while my child is talking to someone?
You will be meeting with the family advocate. They want to answer any questions you have. If they do not know they answer, it is their job to find out. They will listen to your worries and concerns and provide resources to help you through a difficult time. Your other children are welcome to play in our lobby area so you can talk privately to your advocate. Our staff will keep an eye on them.
What happens after the interview?
Your family advocate will facilitate a meeting between yourself and the investigative team. They will tell you in general terms what they learned from the interview. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and voice your concerns. Remember, your child’s interview is the first step in the investigative process. There may be other witnesses that need to be interviewed, physical evidence that needs to be photographed or collected, and the alleged offender will be interviewed. All of the information will be turned over to the Gordon County District Attorney’s Office and they will decide whether or not to prosecute. Your advocate will keep in regular contact to let you know what is going on with the investigation. If you have questions at any point, please feel free to contact your advocate.