For many children, sexual abuse is fraught with shame and guilt. Even with the best of coping skills, suspicion of sexual abuse can throw a family into crisis.
Alaska CARES is an outpatient clinic located near Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. The clinic provides sexual and physical abuse evaluations for children, newborn to age 18 years, and 24-hour on-call services for cases that are considered emergent. These cases usually come to the attention of law enforcement or the emergency departments of local hospitals.
Part of a National Network
Alaska CARES is a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC), and a member of the National Children's Alliance, which is the governing body for more than 450 Children's Advocacy Centers across the United States. CAC's are comprehensive, child-centered programs, based in a facility that allows law enforcement, child protection professionals, prosecutors, mental health professionals, victim advocates, and the medical community to work together to evaluate child abuse cases. The overarching goal of all CAC's is to make sure that the children are not further victimized by systems designed to protect them.
A Supportive Environment
What is child sexual abuse?
- Interviewers are trained in forensic interviewing of children and skilled at talking with children about sensitive topics.
- Nurse Practitioners have specialized training and are skilled in providing a child examination using a highly technical instrument, a colposcope. The colposcope uses light and magnification so the exam is non-invasive.
- A victim advocate from Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) or Southcentral Foundation (SCF) is available to provide support to the child and family while at Alaska CARES.
- Family Care Coordinators are on staff for crisis intervention, and to help the child and family through the upheaval that often accompanies child sexual abuse.
- Alaska CARES provides referrals so that children and families can connect to services that help the healing process begin.
“All sexual touching between an adult and a child is sexual abuse. Sexual touching between children can also be sexual abuse when there is a significant age difference (often defined as 3 or more years) between the children or if the children are very different developmentally or size-wise. Sexual abuse does not have to involve penetration, force, pain, or even touching. If an adult engages in any sexual behavior (looking, showing, or touching) with a child to meet the adult’s interest or sexual needs, it is sexual abuse. This includes the manufacture, distribution and viewing of child pornography.” –www.stopitnow.org
What is child physical abuse?
Child physical abuse is when a child is inflicted with a physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking or otherwise harming a child. Some injuries may include pattern injuries, fractures, burns, bruises, welts, cuts and internal injuries. The abuse may not be intentional and may result from over-discipline or punishment.
When should a child be seen right away?
- Has the incident of abuse taken place within the past 72 hours?
- Is the alleged abuser in the home with the child? Are there other children in the home with the alleged offender?
- Does the child have current physical findings or symptoms?
- Does the child need immediate medical attention?
Alaska CARES Main number: 561-8301
Alaska CARES Fax number: 561-8170
24-Hour On Call Anchorage Police Department: 786-8900
Emergency 911 Office of Children’s Services: 269-4000
Children are to be SEEN, HEARD and BELIEVED