Children's Advocacy Center
As a certified Children’s Advocacy Center, we are specially trained to care for the youngest of victims.
Mosaic Georgia’s Children’s Advocacy Center is a safe, child-focused environment for children who disclose sexual assault or abuse, or observed violence/abuse of another person. We provide advocacy during acute and delayed exams, during children’s forensic interviews and court accompaniment. We follow a multi-disciplinary approach to care by bringing law enforcement, DFACS, prosecutor, medical, psychological/trauma support and advocacy together to best support the child victim and his/her family.
What Kids Can Expect at Mosaic Georgia
As a Children’s Advocacy Center, we designed our center and services to aid in the healing process of child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse with dignity and respect in a safe, nurturing environment. It is child-focused, agency-neutral setting where law enforcement, child services personnel, medical, and victim advocacy can come together to reduce the stressors on the victim and her/his non-offending caregiver.
“Thank you for taking such good care of us. My child wants to come back and play. She was happy to get a juice box and a sticker. And everyone there made us feel welcome.”
The playroom is always clean and equipped with safe toys and games for children of all ages, genders, developmental stages, and ethnicities. There are books and magazines for all reading levels, in several languages. While children are not left alone, a video camera offers added security. Forensic Interview Room is a small, quiet room where a specially-trained interviewer can ask simple, not-leading questions so a child can disclose what someone said, showed, or did to them. Equipped with a camera and microphone, the interview can be observed by law enforcement or Department of Family & Children’s Services in real time. We have two rooms: one specifically for younger children and the other for adolescents. The pediatric exam room looks very much like one in the doctor’s office (maybe nicer). Patients sometimes give names to the images of the baby panda, giraffe and koala bear hanging on the wall.
The physical exam is done with care by a specially-trained pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner. S/he asks the young patient some questions so they can be sure to check and make sure that the patient’s body is strong. If any injuries are found, they are documented and appropriate treatment is offered.
Family Advocacy assists parents with a range of issues that result from the disclosure of sexual abuse or assault. Our advocates provide a safe space for parents to ask questions and express their feelings in dealing with the outcry. We help connect families to resources immediately and over time.
CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER FAQ
What are signs of possible child sexual abuse?
- Sleep disturbances (such as nightmares, fear of the dark or trouble sleeping)
- Excessive or compulsive masturbation
- Fear or dislike of certain people or places
- Extreme changes in behavior
- Regression to infantile behavior (such as bedwetting or thumb sucking)
- Detachment from others, depression or withdrawal
- Age inappropriate interest in sexual matters, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children to behave sexually (What is age appropriate sexual development?)
- Sudden mood swings (such as rage, fear, anger or withdrawal)
- Abdominal pain or unexplained stomach illness
- Loss of appetite or trouble eating or swallowing
- Unexplained bruises, pain, bleeding or redness on the child’s genitals or anus
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Frequent vaginal infections or irritations
- Difficulty with bowel movements or urination
If you have any questions about these signs, please contact Mosaic Georgia at 866-900-6019 to speak with a trained advocate.
If you know a child or have a suspicion that a child has been victimized by child sexual abuse, call your local law enforcement agency at 911 or local child protective services (in Gwinnett County, Georgia – Gwinnett County Department of Family and Children’s Services at 678-518-5500).
How can I protect my child?
When we become parents, we see the world through the eyes of a protector. While we can’t control the rest of the world, we can focus on developing open communication and trust with our children.
Children are exposed to much more visual stimulation and information at earlier ages through access to tablets, smart phones, computers, and video games. Even if your child has limited access to media, others may be exposed to explicit images including pornography.
- Educate yourself. Know the warning signs for child sexual abuse.
- Speak up if you notice behavioral signals that an adult or older child may exhibit problematic sexual behavior.
- Trust your instincts. Gut feelings are easy to ignore, but if something doesn’t feel right, don’t put your child at risk.
- Be comfortable talking with your child using proper anatomy terms like penis, breast, labia, and vagina. It is easier for children to talk about an inappropriate and uncomfortable situation.
- Teach your child to feel good about themselves just as they are.
- Avoid secrets. Teach your child that no one should tell them to keep a secret. Secrets about touching are not okay. Let them know that even if someone says that telling a secret will get your child or parent in trouble or hurt, your child should tell you.
- Teach your child the difference between “Ok” touch and “Not ok” touch. They have the right to say “no.”
- Teach your child that their “No” will be respected. If a child is uncomfortable with a relative’s kiss or hug, let them shake hands instead.
- Build trust. Make sure your child knows that they can rely on you to believe them and protect them.
- Develop a plan. Make sure your child knows what to do and who to talk to if they are sexually touched or threatened. Who are trusted adults they can talk to? Know how to report the abuse – call 911 for local law enforcement.