Prior to the formation of the Child Protection Center, parents often didn’t know where to get help for an abused child. Often, the child had to be taken to the police station and would have to tell about their abuse several times to different investigating agencies.
The Center represents a community-wide effort to provide:
- Centralized access and referral to a system of community services for abused children and their families
- Coordination of high quality, reliable, consistent interviews and medical exams by specially-trained interviewers and physicians
- Efforts toward identification, treatment and prevention of child abuse
Referrals to the Center are made by the Department of Human Services (DHS), law enforcement agencies and private physicians. The Child Protection Center does not replicate any existing community service. The Center also accepts referrals where a developmentally disabled adult is the alleged victim.
“I believe there are certain ways to interview a child and most police officers are not trained in this correctly. We are trained to interrogate and to find lies or holes in statements. This obviously is not a good way to interview children because young children cannot form and maintain a detailed lie. But because of where they are developmentally, their story may not necessarily make sense or seem possible at first. Sometimes adults forget that to understand a child’s statement, they need to see the occurrence from their level; both physically and at their level of functioning. The staff at CPC have extensive training in correctly interviewing children to not only find out what happened, but to do so in a non-traumatizing atmosphere,” said Charity Hansel Cedar Rapids Police Investigator .