As a Child Advocacy Center fully accredited through the National Children’s Alliance. Dove House believes in and operates under the national Child Advocacy Model, which concludes that the least traumatic intervention for child victims of abuse, as well as the most efficient and cost effective community response, is for all involved agencies to work together, as a Multidisciplinary Team, in responding to all reports of child sexual abuse. Dove House’s multidisciplinary partners include the six law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction in Iredell and Alexander Counties, the District Attorney’s office, Department of Social Services in both Iredell and Alexander Counties, Guardian ad Litem program, medical and mental health personnel, and the Dove House staff. Since Dove House opened in September 2002, our MDT has operated under a jointly developed Protocol in response to reports of child sexual abuse.
Appropriate members of our MDT are gathered at Dove House each time a new report of child sexual abuse is received. The child is interviewed at Dove House by our Forensic Interviewer, while the MDT observes the interview via closed-circuit TV. It is a “team” interview. The child only meets with the Forensic Interviewer; however, the MDT can communicate via an earpiece worn by the Interviewer should they need additional clarification. Every interview is digitally recorded; the recording is available to be used in court if the case eventually goes to trial.
MDT Case Reviews: Our MDT meets bi-weekly to review all open Dove House cases. These meetings keep all team members informed on individual case status and development, and allows for updated strategic direction on each case. The information on each case shared across all disciplines helps to reduce the amount of times family members’ lives are disrupted by investigative activities, since all team members are informed about what information has already been obtained. Our case review meetings also ensure that no case, therefore no child, “falls through the cracks”. Our MDT also receives continuing training about the multidisciplinary approach and other topics pertinent to addressing all aspects of a child sexual abuse intervention / investigation.
Beyond the obvious and significant benefits of reducing trauma to child victims and their non-offending family members, the CAC multidisciplinary approach has also been proven to enhance prosecution against perpetrators, as well as being extremely cost effective for the community. These are direct results and benefits of the multidisciplinary process of Children’s Advocacy Centers!