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).
The team members, including the Victim Advocate at the District Attorney's Office, plays a key role as well in providing ongoing support.
One of the "places" within our center that is supportive by its very atmosphere is the "Resource and Reflection Room." This is a place where caregivers can spend quiet time reading, resting, gaining knowledge on various topics of interest to parents, or just rocking in a comfortable rocking chair listening to soothing music for a break from the stress while their child is in therapy. Credit for this room goes to our Administrative Assistant, Courtney Cottrell, who thought of the need and how comforting such a place could be.