MEDICAL EXAMS & CONSULTATIONS
Children may receive a medical exam by physicians specializing in the recognition and treatment of child abuse. This head-to-toe check-up includes a complete social and medical history. Any physical signs of abuse are documented and may be used as evidence in the abuse investigation. Equally important, children have the opportunity to ask questions about how the abuse may have affected their bodies and development, and to receive reassurance from our trained staff.
ABC House physicians also coordinate drug testing for children exposed to illicit substances and serve as Linn and Benton counties’ designated medical providers under Karly’s Law, which mandates that children with suspicious physical injuries must receive medical attention from child abuse experts.
Children aged four and older can sit down with a professional trained in talking to children to obtain accurate and objective information, without leading, interrogating or traumatizing them. All ABC House interviewers receive advanced training in child development and communicating with children using age-appropriate, legally-sound methods. This in-depth interview is digitally recorded to reduce the number of times children need to share their experiences with other professionals involved in the investigation.
FAMILY ADVOCACY & SUPPORT
Families receive support to help them cope with the discovery of abuse and navigate the next steps. Our Advocate provides families with clear, concise information to help parents and caregivers understand the child abuse assessment and investigation processes.
Our team also helps families to identify any other needs, such as counseling, domestic violence or housing and connects them to local community partners who offer these services. If eligible, the Advocate helps the family complete and submit an application from Crime Victims Compensation Funds to help cover the cost of future needs for the child.
Children aged 2 and older and their non-offending family members work with counselors specializing in trauma treatment modalities to help children process what has happened to them and move forward. Children learn strategies to help them manage their fear or feelings of being out of control when remembering abusive events and to focus on their own strengths and abilities.
Non-offending family members also learn skills to help their children deal with abuse memories and to strengthen parent-child relationships. The majority of our counseling clients have received child abuse assessment services through ABC House, while others are seen on a case-by-case basis in response to outside referrals.
XANDER, COURTHOUSE-FACILITY DOG
Xander is a Courthouse-Facility Dog, gifted to ABC House by Assistance Dogs NW in November 2020. A Facility Dog is a working dog whose job is to provide emotional support and comfort for children and families while participating in assessment services and during court testimony. Xander has been professionally trained for this purpose and works in tandem with ABC House staff to provide impartial support for clients. Xander often greets families in the waiting areas where he offers a fun distraction from the anxiety a family might feel. Xander also participates in other services including accompanying children to their forensic interviews. Xander's most often used cue is "snuggle" but he also enjoys "say hello" and "visit," as he'd love to greet every passerby if time allowed.
Xander is very mild-mannered and calm, and as such is often mistaken for an elderly dog, even though he is only 2 years old. Xander has a keen sense of humor; he often makes ABC House staff fetch his toys instead of having to do the work himself. While Xander is part Labrador, he has no interest in bodies of water or chasing tennis balls. Xander can instead be found napping in the sun or napping anywhere else... he's frequently napping. Xander's favorite getaway includes any sandy beach; there you won't find him napping but instead showcasing his youth and making friends with seagulls!