Every Non-Offending Member of a Victim's Family is in Need of Support
There is no such thing as a single child abuse victim. When a child in a family is abused, everyone in the family feels the effects to some degree. Stress levels increase, questions about protection surface, new parenting questions arise, and there are often the stressors of non-support by family and friends who are unwilling to believe that the offender is capable of having committed such a crime. Often there is also the loss of income that was vital to the financial survival of the family. If the mother is suddenly the sole "breadwinner," changes in lifestyle may become necessary that are themselves stress-producing for all family members.
In addition, most non-offending parents have no experience with the court system or the process through which they and their child will be going through. It is vital that they be given support throughout this time in order to maintain as much stability as possible. Our staff provides this support from the time the parent and child walk through the doors until the end of the case (this can be from six months to two years).
In her own words, our Victim Advocate, Kate Ross, sees herself as someone that caregivers can "unload upon." In addition to giving caregivers her kind ear, Kate also connects them with services and resources in the community. Kate works closely with the Victim Advocate at the District Attorney's Office to keep families informed of how their court cases are progressing, and provides courtroom support for caregivers when needed.