Child Advocacy

The Mission of the Safe Passage Child Advocacy Center is to provide a safe, child-friendly environment to a child who has been abused. The center will make services easily available & convenient for victims and families by offering forensic interviews and follow-up counseling at one location.

Description of Services:

The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of York County is a child abuse evaluation and treatment center.  The CAC is aimed to be child-centered and to prevent children from being re-victimized.

Services provided include victim advocacy and therapy for children and non-offending family members and forensic interviews. These services are provided free of charge.

Staff members at the CAC collaborate with investigators of many disciplines. This multidisciplinary team approach brings together under one umbrella the professionals and agencies needed to offer comprehensive services: law enforcement, child protective services, juvenile court, the solicitor’s office, mental health professionals, and the medical community. This is done in efforts to increase communication between investigating parties and reduce duplication of services.

Know the two agencies in your community that handle most reports of child abuse:
  • Department of Social Services (DSS) - (803) 684-2315
  • Your local law enforcement agency - 911
Forensic Interview
  • What is a Forensic Interview?
    A forensic interview is performed by someone who is specially trained in the many dynamics of child abuse. It is a fact finding mission to determine whether or not a child has been abused. A forensic interview finds out the child’s reality about what happened to them using non-leading and age appropriate questions.
  • How can I request a Forensic Interview?
    The Safe Passage Child Advocacy Center can only receive Forensic Interview referrals from the Department of Social Services or Law Enforcement.
  • How can I receive the free therapeutic services offered by the Safe Passage Child Advocacy Center?
    Please contact the number below and ask to speak to one of the therapists on staff. The therapists will make the decision as to whether or not someone is appropriate for our services. 803-980-KIDS (5437)

Signs of Child Abuse

  1. Unexplained Injuries - Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
  2. Changes in behavior - Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
  3. Returning to earlier behaviors - Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
  4. Fear of going home - Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
  5. Changes in eating - The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or loss.
  6. Changes in sleeping - Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
  7. Changes in school performance and attendance - Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the child’s injuries from authorities.
  8. Lack of personal care or hygiene - Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
  9. Risk-taking behaviors - Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
  10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors - Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
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