Help. Hope. Healing.
If your child has been abused, help, hope and healing are possible. There are many caring people in Fannin County who have combined their resources, efforts and know-how to improve our community response to children and families who are impacted by child abuse.
Unfortunately, child abuse happens every day. But the good news is you don’t have to go through it alone. There is help available to get you through this. Hope can be restored and healing can begin.
When will my child’s case go to court? It can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. Some cases may not have enough evidence to proceed very far in the criminal justice system. A few cases may get resolved in less than a year. Many cases can easily take much more time than that. Time will allow you and your child to heal and get stronger in order to be ready for your day in court.
Will my child have to testify? Children can be called to court to testify. Not every child who is involved in an investigation of child abuse is asked to testify in court. However, if your child is asked to testify, be assured that special help is available to make you and your child more comfortable with the court experience. In many instances, testifying can actually be an empowering experience for a child.
Before going to court to testify, you and your child will meet with the prosecutors and tour the courtroom. You and your child will be able to ask questions and learn more about what to expect. Staff from the Children’s Advocacy Center can be with you during the entire process, answering questions and providing support every step of the way.
What is Crime Victims Compensation? The Crime Victims Compensation Fund is a federal and state program funded through fines paid by convicted criminals. It is a reimbursement program that provides certain benefits to injured victims and their families. It can pay for counseling and other expenses incurred because of the crime. Staff at the Children’s Advocacy Center can give you more information about this program and help you file for benefits.
How can I help my child?
- Take care of yourself and your own feelings about your child’s abuse. Refrain from emotional outbursts about the abuse in front of your child – emotional behavior on your part will increase your child’s anxiety.
- Believe your child.
- Listen to your child. Give your child the chance to discuss feelings about the abuse and the abuser on their own timetable. Avoid asking lots of questions or interrogating your child about the details of what happened.
- Recognize that your child may have a wide range of emotions – anger, sadness, anxiety or positive feelings about the abuser.
- Reassure your child the abuse was not her fault. Tell your child you will protect him from further abuse.
- Refrain from talking with other adults in front of your child about the abuse, your child’s case or the abuser.
- Make sure your child participates in recommended counseling.
- Go to counseling yourself.
- Believe your child can heal and be happy again.
- Be patient with your child and yourself – healing takes time.
What is the Children’s Advocacy Center? The Fannin County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a program of the Fannin County Children’s Center. The CAC pulls together all of the public and private agencies who are involved in the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse. Our team includes investigators, prosecutors, medical personnel, counselors and other professionals with special skills in helping child abuse victims and their protective family members. By working together, we can do a better job of helping victims recover and bringing offenders to justice.
The CAC has many free services to offer and can be with you every step of the way as your child’s case goes through the criminal justice system.
The Center is conveniently located within walking distance of the courthouse in Bonham. We are at 112 West Fifth Street. Our phone number is (903) 583-4339.