CAC Model

What is the CACCT?

The CACCT was established as a non-profit organization in 1999. The CAC promotes a collaborative investigative effort involving law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical professionals and mental health providers to recognize the pain and reduce the trauma for victims of child abuse.

Is the CAC a common model?

Yes, there are approximately 924 CAC's (and counting) in the nation, 70 of which are located in the state of Texas. All CAC's make a difference in their respective communities one child at a time by providing high-quality care so child victims of abuse can heal.

Who do you serve?

The CAC accepts referrals from law enforcement and child protective services who are alleged victims of sexual abuse, serious (priority one) physical abuse, witness to violent crime, and human trafficking of children ages 3-17. Our jurisdiction involves Bell, Coryell, or Milam Counties, where the child resides, offense allegedly occurred, or cases involved the County Attorney's Office.

Service Related

Forensic Interview

What is a forensic interview?

The purpose of the interview is to minimize the number of times a child is questioned during the investigation. The interviewer will ask questions that are appropriate for the child's age and development level. The interviewer will ask non-leading, open-ended questions to allow the child to describe what happened in their own words. This conversation is audio- and video- recorded and investigators will be observing the interview via closed-circuit television in another room.

Can I view the interview?

While we recognize the desire for caregivers to be by their child's side, caregivers are not allowed to view the forensic interview. CACCT only allows the professionals actively working on the investigation to watch the interview. Caregivers have the opportunity to meet with investigators after the interview has concluded and ask any questions or express any concerns.

How long does the interview last?

Since each case and child is different there is no set amount of time. Interviews typically last anywhere from fifteen minutes to one hour.

Will my child be introduced to new terms or ideas?

The interviewer will use the same words, names and phrases that your child uses and will not introduce the child to anything they do not already know. The interviewer may utilize anatomically correct drawings and dolls to allow the child to identify parts of the body, bodily functions, or enable children to demonstrate acts that may be difficult to verbalize.

Who can come to my child's interview?

We allow family members or friends to come along for any support. We do not allow any alleged offenders inside of the center to ensure a safe and friendly environment for you and the child. Please note, children who are not being interviewed may come to the center but must be supervised at all times.

Will the interview prevent my child from testifying in court?

The interview is part of the investigative process and will be used to help determine if and what type of criminal or civil proceedings are necessary. The interview will not take the place of your child's testimony in any court proceedings that may result from the investigation.

What should my child know about the interview?

Children seem to be put at ease when they know what to expect. It's okay to tell your child a day or two before their appointment that they will be coming to the center. Tell your child that they will be meeting with someone whose job is to talk to kids who have experienced similar situations. It's critical to comfort your child and give them permission to speak freely; but, it's also important to not rehearse or tell your child what to say. Reiterate to your child of your unconditional love and support.

What happens after the forensic interview?

On occasion, the investigators may talk with you to outline next steps. If you are not able to speak with your investigators the day of your appointment, they will follow-up with you after your appointment. You will be asked to complete a brief survey at the end of your appointment and will be sent a follow-up survey a few weeks after. Your feedback ensures that we are providing the best care to our clients. Your family advocate that you meet with will provide routine follow-up contact to provide support, information, referrals, and other assistance when needed.

What should I say to my child after the interview?

Listen. Assure your child of your love and support regardless of what was disclosed or determined. Thank your child for their courage to talk. Do not be concerned if your child does not want to talk after their visit. Some children will be tired of talking and are ready to heal from any experience. Avoid leading your child to think that they will never have to talk about their experiences again as some cases will continue into the legal system and may require re-interviews or court testimony.

Medical Exams

What is the purpose of a child abuse medical evaluation?

If there is a reason to believe that your child has been sexually abused, a medical evaluation is an important step in making sure that they are healthy, both physically and mentally. A medical provider with advanced training in child abuse should examine your child in order to:
  • Determine whether your child has any injuries that need to be cared for.
  • Answer any questions you or your child have and assure the child that they are healthy and that their body is normal.
  • Screen your child for pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections.
  • Determine whether your child might benefit from counseling.

What happens during the medical evaluation?

Medical exams for child victims of sexual abuse can be different depending on what may have happened to your child.
In most child sexual abuse exams, the provider will usually:
  • Talk to you and your child in order to make you both feel more comfortable
  • Ask questions about your child's medical history and about why your child is receiving a medical exam.
  • Conduct a head-to-toe physical exam of your child to make sure that they are healthy.
  • Conduct a visual exam of your child's genital area.
  • Determine whether your child has any injuries or illnesses that need to be cared for.

In some cases, the medical provider might need to:
  • Use forensic evidence collection kit to gather evidence.
  • Take photographs of your child's body.
  • Draw blood or take swabs of your child's bodily fluids in order to screen for infections.

What are the benefits of a medical evaluation?

If there is a reason to believe that your child has been sexually abused, there are many reasons why they should have a medical evaluation. Some of those benefits are:
  • Your child will be seen by a medical provider who can look for and treat any injuries or infections.
  • Your child will be able to ask questions and be assured by the provider that their body is healthy and normal.
  • The medical provider can correct any myths that your child may believe about the abuse.
  • You will be asked questions about your child's health in order to address any concerns you have.
  • By brining your child in for a medical exam, you are showing your child that you support them and want to help them.

Will the medical evaluation hurt my child?

No. The child's well being is the first priority in a child sexual abuse medical evaluation, and in most cases, the exam will not hurt. In some cases, however, a blood draw may be necessary to ensure that your child is healthy.

Is a child sexual abuse medical evaluation similar to a woman's pelvic exam?

No. In medical evaluations of young children, the medical provider will only conduct a visual exam of the child's genital area, and nothing will be placed inside of the child. For teenage girls, the exam may be more similar to a well-woman exam so that the medical provider can thoroughly assess the teenager's health.

Will the medical evaluation be upsetting to my child?

In most cases, no. Medical providers who conduct child abuse medical exams receive special training on how to conduct the exam in a child-sensitive manner that minimizes discomfort to the child.

About Child Abuse

What if a child is making up the abuse?

Children rarely lie about abuse. In fact, less than 10% of child abuse allegations are false and many of those are first fabricated by adults, not children. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of true allegations should urge you to always believe a child if they disclose abuse and follow through with the next step of reporting.

Does childhood sexual abuse effect the victim's sexual orientation?

There is no evidence that concludes that the sexual abuse of a child is directly correlated to whether the identify themselves as homosexual, heterosexual, bi-sexual, or pansexual. However, childhood sexual abuse can rob a person's natural right to discover their own sexuality in their own time if the abuser regardless of their orientation or gender identity spoke manipulative message that confused the child about their personal sexual identity.

If abused, does a child have a chance at becoming a function, contributing member of society?

Many survivors of child abuse report that the emotional damage from abuse brings more suffering than the abuse itself. Common mental health issues that plague survivors include: depression, distorted body image, low self-esteem, poor social skills, anger and hostility, and inability to trust. However, a survivor of child abuse can most certainly lead a fulfilling and rewarding life. With treatment and a strong support system, survivors can stop feeling ashamed, responsible, angry, and objectified. Seeking help from mental health professionals and having a supportive nurturing family or spouse is vital to a survivor's success.

If a child is abused, will they grow up to be an abuser?

It is a common, yet inaccurate assumption that a child abuse survivor will always grow up to become an abuser. There are numerous individuals who were not abused as children who become abusive adults, as well as many individuals who have been abused as children and do not subsequently abuse children.

Are most abused children from low-income families/communities?

Child abuse and neglect occurs across all socio-economic, educational, religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. Therefore, there is no single known cause e of child maltreatment or any one "type" of family in which the children are more likely to be victims of abuse and neglect. Research has recognized a number of risk factors that are commonly associated with child maltreatment including: the child is disabled/chronically ill/perceived as different, family dysfunction, substance abuse by family members, caregiver has a physical or mental health problem, young and/or single parents, and domestic violence. Children within families and environment's in which these factors exist have a higher probability of experiencing maltreatment. However, just because these factors may be present among a family or in a community does not mean that child abuse and neglect will always result. The factors that may contribute to maltreatment in one family may not result in child abuse and neglect in another family.

How is it possible for a sexual predator to convince a child to engage in inappropriate acts and never tell someone?

Sexual abuse is almost always premeditated. A sexual predator will first devise a plan to groom the child and their family. Grooming is a form of manipulation whereby the predator infiltrates the community and/or family, building a trusting relationship that will eventually allow the predator one-on-one access to a child. Because they have convinced even the protective adults around them that they truly care About children, a predator is typically the last person anyone would think would do something inappropriate to a child. These positions of trust that allow a predator easy access to children include, but are not limited to: family members, neighbors, babysitters, teachers/coaches, church staff/volunteers, camp staff/volunteers. In more than 90% of sexual abuse cases, the child knows and trusts their abuser. This makes it difficult for a child to escape abuse or feel comfortable telling someone about the abuse. This may be because the child sees that their parents like and trust the perpetrator.

How can I tell if a child is being groomed for abuse?

It is important to recognize when grooming may be occurring. In the beginning of the grooming process the predator is working to form a special bond with the child. Some early signs of grooming to look for include: spending time doing activities the child enjoys, buying the child gifts or giving money, treating the child as more special than others, tickling/wrestling/hugging, and finding excuses to have one-on-one time with the child. These tactics create a sense of loyalty from the child to the predator, thus making it even more difficult for a child to tell someone when the predator crosses the line of appropriate behavior. More serious signs of grooming include: petting/stroking/groping above or under clothing, talking about sexual activity with the child, viewing the child nude or exposing the child to nudity, showing the child pornography (adult and/or child), masturbating in front of the child, or teaching the child how to masturbate. Many times, a predator will bring down the defenses of a child by explaining they are merely playing a "game" or that they are doing is "normal" or "special." A child is typically confused by the inappropriate behavior but feels a sense of loyalty to the predator, internalizes the inappropriate acts as their own fault, feel too embarrassed to talk about it, or doesn't think anyone will believe them if they tell. Once a family and child are groomed it makes the possibility of a child telling someone about abuse minimal. As protective adults, we must be aware of grooming behaviors.

What We Do


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