The type of interviews conducted at Braveheart is called forensic. This means they are neutral and fact finding. Braveheart has a trained forensic interviewer on site. Many DCFS investigators and local law enforcement officers are also trained in forensic interviewing and conduct this service at our offices. The forensic interview room is very child friendly. Coordinated team efforts reduce the number of interviews child victims must endure, thereby reducing trauma to the child.
The Henry County office provides specialized mental health on site at no cost to clients or families. Braveheart also provides referrals for mental health/therapy providers throughout the five county areas. The Advocate or mental health specialist can help families’ complete applications for Crime Victim’s Compensation, a fund for crime victims that can help to reimburse families for therapy and other expenses that resulted from the crime.
The Braveheart Advocate maintains contact with the family throughout the life of their case, which at times may last up to two years, or as long as the family requests. Braveheart works cooperatively with agency service providers to make referrals based on the needs of the child and their family. Braveheart tracks referrals and assists families in connecting with service providers to initiate additional support. This assures children and families are receiving appropriate/specialized services in a timely manner, and that the family is aware of available resources. Braveheart assists the child victim and their family to navigate the criminal justice system by apprising them of the status of their case on a continual basis, advocating for their concerns/needs with multidisciplinary team members/service providers, provides education on the investigative and court process, assists with resource attainment, and provides emotional support. Braveheart's Advocate serves the full five county areas. Victim Witness Coordinators are a strong team partner in supporting families where criminal charges have been filed.
Braveheart staff and Board Members are available to provide presentations on topics related to child abuse and the Children’s Advocacy Center concept. These efforts increase community awareness on the prevalence of child abuse as well as how to identify and report abuse. Increased awareness and reporting leads to more timely and successful intervention.
Are you a mandated reporter? Everyone who suspects child abuse should report it to law enforcement and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. But, if you are a mandated reporter, you are required by law to report abuse. Braveheart recommends mandated reporters review how to recognize and report abuse every year. For a free training, go here: https://www.dcfstraining.org/manrep/index.jsp