(a) Currently, sexually abused children often have to describe their sexual abuse
several times to different professionals at different locations. Many investigations are conducted with little collaboration between the agencies
involved in the cases. Each agency's child abuse professionals are officed in a different facility, and
interface during the investigation and management of cases is limited. Sexual abuse medical examinations are commonly performed in hospital emergency rooms
and other sites that are frightening to children, lack the proper equipment, and often
are staffed by physicians uncomfortable with these exams. It is the intent of the General Assembly to institute pilot programs to provide
the services just described under one (1) roof and to provide a more child-friendly
atmosphere, less trauma to the children and families, improved investigations and
management, more effective utilization of multiagency information, greater protection
of children, increased prosecution of perpetrators, and less unnecessary family intervention.
(b) In order to accomplish these goals, the Department of Arkansas State Police is
hereby authorized to utilize moneys appropriated for its maintenance and general operation
to make grants to and to contract with children's advocacy centers for facilities
(c)(1) The Arkansas Child Abuse/Rape/Domestic Violence Commission shall advise the
Department of Arkansas State Police as to children's advocacy centers which qualify
for grants or contracts from the Department of Arkansas State Police.
(2) Qualified children's advocacy centers should:
(A) Provide a child-friendly, comfortable place for interviewing children and families,
examining the children, and initiating services;
(B) Provide crisis intervention for the child and family as well as appropriate referrals
for psychological treatment if not available on site; and
(C) Provide offices for law enforcement, employees of the Department of Human Services,
and healthcare professionals in order to deliver collaborative evaluations and services.
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