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Learning that your child may have been sexually abused can be overwhelming.  For your child, the most helpful response is to be calm and reassuring.  Being upset at a time like this is perfectly understandable.  However, children often feel embarrassed or guilty about the abuse and may interpret a parent's anxious response as anger toward them.  It is best to find another adult you can talk to about your fears and concerns.

Preparing your child to come to the Jeannette Prandi Children's Center will have a significant impact on the outcome of the interview.  More importantly, it will make a very difficult task easier for your child.  She/he depends on your approval in order to feel okay about being interviewed.

You might begin by saying, "You and I are going to the Jeannette Prandi Children's Center.  It's a special place where kids talk about what happened to them.  The person you will be talking to talks to lots of kids.  It's important that you tell the truth and only talk about what really happened."  As a parent, you know best what to say to comfort and encourage your child.  These are merely suggestions to get you started.

A successful interview begins with your child feeling confident.  Of course your child's confidence will depend to a great extent upon how comfortable you feel when you bring your child for the interview. 

Additionally, children are often reluctant to talk about critically important details because they do not want to upset their parents. Rest assured, the Interview Specialist has received extensive training and is sensitive to your child’s needs.

While your child is being interviewed, or after the interview, you will have an opportunity to meet with a counselor on the staff to talk about any concerns you may have about your child, yourself or any other members of your family. Our counselor will also have information about the Victim Witness program. This program provides counseling referrals as well as reimbursement for counseling expenses to eligible victims and their families.

After the interview, which usually takes about 45 minutes, the Law Enforcement Officer will meet with you to answer any questions and explain the next step in the investigation.

A medical examination may be necessary for the children interviewed at the Center. If your child needs an exam, we will make the necessary arrangements for that to occur. Even if your child does not need an exam, but you have medical questions about your child, we can assist you in making contact with knowledgeable medical personnel.

We hope this information will answer most of your questions. However, if you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to call and talk to someone on the staff before you and your child come to the Center.

It is hoped that this web site will acquaint you with the Center, its purpose and the interview process.