Services

Dedicated To Helping Victims Of Child Abuse

BRACAC Support

The BRACAC’s services and programs fulfill our mission to help sexually abused children and their non-offending parents and caregivers in the Barren River Area region heal from abuse. We believe no one professional or agency can meet that goal alone. Rather, it takes a team of specially trained professionals working together to meet the needs of a child victim while respecting the needs of the investigative process to hold offenders accountable for crimes against children.

The Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center provides children and their non-offending family members with advocacy and support, coordination of the investigation process and critical direct services for children ages 0-17 living in Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren Counties.

Directory of BRACAC Support Services

Victim Advocacy

Supporting and Advocating For Victims of Child Abuse

The BRACAC’s Child Advocates coordinate and provide services and support to children and families at the Center and until the child’s case is resolved by the assigned MDT, prosecution efforts or both. Advocates help connect children and families with other resources in the community and provide information and assistance with Victim Compensation benefits, court preparation and support and more.

Forensic Interviews

Child Abuse Forensic Interviews Conducted In Our Center

The BRACAC is equipped with three interview rooms that are designed to make children feel comfortable to talk about what has happened to them. The Center’s Forensic Interviewers are trained through nationally recognized programs on forensic interviewing of children and work closely with investigative professionals to conduct interviews at each child’s developmental ability and to minimize multiple interviews and additional trauma. Forensic interviews are provided for children when sexual abuse and/or exploitation is disclosed or suspected. Interviews may also be provided for children who have experienced severe physical abuse and/or been a witness to abuse or other violence.

Medical Examinations

Child Abuse Medical Examination Conducted In Our Center

The BRACAC’s medical unit includes a child-friendly examination room and small laboratory. Physicians with specialized training and experience in pediatric medicine and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual abuse conduct child-sensitive, noninvasive medical examinations to ensure a child is healthy and without injury. It is the unit’s ultimate goal to minimize any additional trauma to a child by reducing unnecessary and repeat examinations. The examination also collects and documents forensic evidence, if present. While physicians who are specially trained in the medical diagnosis and treatment of child sexual abuse recommend alleged child victims receive a medical examination at the earliest opportunity, most examinations are not “acute” situations and can be scheduled during the Center’s regular clinic days.

Physicians

The Center’s Medical Unit is staffed by pediatricians and family physicians who have received special training on the medical evaluation and treatment of child sexual abuse. They provide quality, on-site medical examinations for children at the Center regardless of an ability to pay. Because the Center’s physicians provide these examinations at the Center on a volunteer basis, their only contact with the children is through the Center. They do not provide these examinations at their private practice clinics. They also do not maintain records or discuss BRACAC cases through their private practice clinics. While the Center provides specialized comprehensive child sexual abuse medical examinations regardless of an ability to pay, it does attempt to bill Medicaid and private health insurance carriers whenever possible to help support the mission and provision of medical services at the Center. Non-offending parents and/or caregivers are never charged or “billed” for medical services provided by the Center.

Referrals & Scheduling

The Center works closely with and receives referrals routinely from:
• Physicians and Medical Professionals;
• Law enforcement and Child Protection Workers
• Concerned parents and caregivers.

To schedule an examination for a child, call the Center at (270) 783-4357. The Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Medical Examinations are scheduled on a regular and acute basis, as determined appropriate.

Physicians and Medical Professionals
Physicians and medical professionals may make a referral directly to the Center; however, the referral to the Center does not meet the requirement for mandated reporting of abuse to the Department for Community Based Services /Health & Family Services Cabinet and local law enforcement. Center staff will gladly provide medical professionals with the necessary contact information and assist them with the reporting process.

Mental Health Services

Mental Health Therapy For Children In Our Center

Therapeutic treatment of children

Our mission at BRACAC is to provide specialized cutting edge, evidence-based treatment services for the treatment of psychological trauma to each child we serve. We strive to work collaboratively with other child-serving agencies in our community ensuring effective continuity of care. Through our partnership with the University of Kentucky Child and Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Training Institute (CATTTI) we are able to provide comprehensive trauma assessments and access training on new treatment approaches that are recognized by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).

The therapists on our treatment team provide advocacy for children through testimony in court, participation in Interested Party Reviews, engagement of the child’s care system (DCBS, schools, families, foster families, lawyers, and law enforcement), community education, and participation in local advocacy organizations. We currently provide Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide to Education and Therapy. In the near future we will be adding Parent Child Interactional Therapy.  

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Trauma-Informed Interventions Available

Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is a phase-based trauma-focused intervention appropriate for youth ages 3-18 who are experiencing traumatic-stress related symptoms. TF-CBT uses gradual exposure to distressing thoughts and feelings connected to traumatic events and focuses on building coping skills to manage stressful emotional content, decrease avoidance, address negative alterations in cognition and mood, and reduce levels of arousal and reactivity. The intervention also facilitates the processing of traumatic and negative life events and any related cognitions and emotions. Caregivers are considered an important part of treatment and are included in sessions so that they can help youth to practice acquired skills at home, develop trauma-informed parenting skills, and support the emotional well-being of their child. TF-CBT is supported by a robust empirical base that has demonstrated its ability to decrease traumatic-stress related symptoms in trauma-exposed youth. TF-CBT uses the PRACTICE acronym to outline the components of treatment:

Psychoeducation and Parenting Skills
Relaxation
Affect expression and modulation  
Cognitive coping and processing I and II
Trauma Narrative
In Vivo mastery of trauma reminders
Conjoint caregiver-child sessions
Enhancing safety and future development

Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET)

TARGET is a phase-based trauma-focused treatment for school-aged youth and families that can be delivered in an individual, family, or group format. TARGET was developed for youth who have experienced complex trauma and is particularly appropriate for youth who struggle with daily stressors and affect regulation. TARGET provides a 7-step sequence of skills—the FREEDOM steps—that are designed to help youth understand and gain greater control of trauma- and stress-related reactions that may be triggered by daily life stressors. The FREEDOM steps were developed around the following components:

Focus
Recognize triggers
Emotion self-check
Evaluate thoughts
Define goals
Options
Make a contribution

Therapeutic treatment of adults

We are passionate about treating psychological trauma experienced by children. Our treatment team also values preventative efforts to ensure less children experience trauma. Through a collaborative partnership with Western Kentucky University’s social work and psychological sciences departments and The Center for Child Welfare and Research (CCWEAR), we are able to provide evidence-based group trauma treatment for non-offending caregivers who have experienced their own trauma. This unique project seeks to address the broad effects of trauma on an adult’s ability to provide consistency and stability, identify their child’s needs, awareness of safety and “red flag” behaviors from others, and ability to appropriately trust others.  

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Interns
Our therapy program works closely with Western Kentucky University’s social work program to provide relevant and timely field experience to bachelor- and master-level social work students. This program allows for exposure to empirically supported, measurement-based treatment for trauma; field research; policy; and advocacy. Master-level students gain experience providing psychological treatment to clients under the supervision of our experienced clinicians.  

Community Outreach Child Abuse Prevention

Education and Training Programs For Our Community

The BRACAC is committed to supporting the ongoing professional development of its staff and MDT partner professionals on the response, investigation, treatment and prosecution of child sexual abuse and exploitation.  In addition, the BRACAC provides various training opportunities to the general public.

For Adults

The Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children Program (2 hours)
Stewards of Children is an evidence-informed training proven effective in educating adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  It allows participants to hear from abuse survivors and professionals in the field while learning tangible ways to reduce the risk of sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

Additional Darkness to Light supplemental trainings, including:

Bystander Intervention (30 minutes)
In this training, you will learn how to be an active bystander in child sexual abuse prevention and response.  You will receive examples of boundary violations and inappropriate behaviors and how you can make spontaneous and planned interventions that reinforce boundaries and protect children.

Child Abuse and Mandated Reporting (1 Hour)
Teaching definitions and indicators of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect, this training also teaches you about the legal obligations as a mandated reporter defined by our state.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (1 Hour)
Sexual trafficking, also known as the commercial sexual exploitation of children, is any sexual activity involving a child for which something of value is given or promised.  This training teaches you about the root cause of commercial sexual exploitation and why preventing sexual abuse is important to reducing the risk of children being sexually exploited.

Healthy Touch for Children (30 minutes)
Healthy affection and touch is protective from child sexual abuse especially with parents, caregivers, and family members.  This training teaches you some guidelines for healthy touch and safe, respectful ways to interact with children.

Talking with Children about Safety from Sexual Abuse (30 minutes)
Talking about personal safety and sex creates a protective bond between parent and child, increases confidence for both, and instills knowledge that makes children and teens much less vulnerable.  Building on the education provided in Stewards of Children, you will learn how to talk with and listen to children about sexual abuse and personal safety.

For Kids:

ROAR (30 minutes)
ROAR is a child-friendly, evidence based program for kids ages 4-8.  During this lesson, a lion named Rex takes children on a journey to find his ROAR, a simple acronym that teaches children that their bodies are their own and to stand up against abuse.  The lesson materials encourage children to continue the conversation at home with their families.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wouldn’t A Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused Be Fearful Of The Offender?

Sexual abusers often “groom” their victims by giving gifts, attention, and/or special privileges. This grooming process insures continued access and secrecy with the victim. The abuser may also be a close friend, member of the family, or someone else that the victim loves or looks up to.

As The Protective Caregiver - What About My Feelings?

Caregivers of victims also have a variety of emotions following a disclosure of abuse. Common emotions experienced by caregivers are guilt, sadness, shock, anger, and even depression. If the abuser is also a caregiver, there may be worries about housing and economic issues that must be considered. Although the caregiver’s emotions may be strong, it is important that the child believes that the caregiver can handle the disclosure or the results. The child, if he/she feels that the emotions created by the disclosure are too intense, may withdraw thinking that this will lessen the strain on the caregiver. It is vital that the caregiver speak to another competent adult, NOT the child, about their complex and strong feelings. It may be helpful for the parent to seek treatment with a counselor who is experienced in working with the families of victims.

Caregivers also must separate their own emotions from those of the victim. Caregivers can help the victim express his/her own feelings about the abuse. This can be especially difficult for caregivers who experienced abuse themselves as a child. Watching a loved one go through abuse may bring up old emotions. It is important that the caregiver resolves these feelings with a competent adult or counselor and NOT the child.

Support groups with other caregivers of victims can also be very helpful during this time. Information on groups is available at your local children’s advocacy center.

Can A Child Consent To Having Sex With An Adult Or Much Older Child/Teenager?

No. Because of age, size and/or the nature of the relationship, adults have power and authority over children. Children, therefore, do not have the maturity to equally consent to a sexual act with an adult or much older child. Each state has laws that define the legal age at which a child can consent to a sexual activity.

Does Child Sexual Abuse Involve More Than Touching?

Sexual abuse can take on many forms such as fondling, penetration, exposure of private parts, participation and/or viewing of pornography, and communicating with a child in a sexualized manner.  All forms are serious and must be addressed by law enforcement, child protective services, and/or medical professionals.

How Can I Find Out About Sex Offenders In My Area?

Sex offenders are required to register with law enforcement when they move or after their release from prison/jail. A list of sex offenders registered in Kentucky can be accessed via the internet at kspsor.state.ky.us. This information can be obtained by calling toll free 1-866-564-5652. At this number, an individual can register up to 3 zip codes to monitor and a phone number. When a registered sex offender moves into and/or within that three zip code area, the Kentucky State Police willnotify the phone number provided.

Although the registration, phone notification, and website system is helpful, it is not 100% accurate. Even though there is a punishment if a convicted sex offender does not register, some offenders do not register. Also, some offenders “plead out” of their cases and therefore may not have to register, if their plea agreement does not include a registerable offense. Persons convicted of sex crimes before July 15, 1994 are not required to register for those crimes. Offenders who are not reported, charged, and convicted are not required to register.

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Reducing The Trauma Of Child Abuse In The Barren River Area