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Family Support Line:
Helping Victims of Child Sexual Abuse
Find Hope & Healing

Professionals at Family Support Line and DCCAC
pictured (L to R): Susanne Hawkins Whiting,
Rayna Smaller and Lesi Elbirn.

F

amily Support Line (FSL), a nonprofit based in Media,
has a 30-year history of providing a wide range of direct
services to victims of child sexual abuse. In 2015, with the
opening of the Delaware County Children's Advocacy Center
(DCCAC), we expanded our services to child victims of crime.
The DCCAC is fully accredited by the National Children's
Alliance. The dedicated professionals who work for Family
Support Line and the Delaware County CAC are dedicated to
a simple mission: helping children and families find hope and
healing after the trauma of sexual abuse.

Delaware County Children's Advocacy Center
The Delaware County Children's Advocacy Center provides
a coordinated response to reports of child abuse through
a Memorandum of Agreement with Delaware County law
enforcement agencies, Children and Youth Services and the
District Attorney's Office. These agencies refer alleged victims
and their non-offending caregivers to the DCCAC, where the
identified victim receives a forensic interview conducted by
specially trained professionals. These interviews are neutral, factfinding and legally defensible. Investigative personnel gather at
the DCCAC for the forensic interview and observe from another
room as the child and interviewer are recorded. The recording
provides a record of the child's statement and mitigates the need
for multiple interviews. In 2017, 454 children were served at the
DCCAC.

Coordinating the Multi-Disciplinary Team,
which includes; Children and Youth Services,
Law Enforcement, the District Attorney's Office,
medical professionals, the Office of Behavioral
Health and the Department of Juvenile Justice, is
a central function of the DCCAC and provides an
opportunity for agencies to work collaboratively
and support one another through the investigative
process.
The DCCAC's Family Advocates offer
emotional support to victims and their nonoffending caregivers. These advocacy services
include coordination of medical exams,
referral for trauma-focused therapy, court
accompaniment and case tracking. Our Family
Advocates support the child and family through
the interview process and assure that all understand the next steps.
For those cases proceeding to court, the Family Advocates assist
families in understanding the proceedings and offer emotional
support throughout the often-difficult process.

Prevention Education Programs
In addition to the trauma-focused therapy offered at FSL, we
engage in public awareness by providing prevention education
programs to professionals, community members, parents and
children. Our staff goes into local schools and talks to children
about their bodies, empowering them to say, "No" and to tell a
trusted adult when someone breaks touching rules. Last school
year, nearly 7,200 children were educated.
Every day, the professionals at Family Support Line and
DCCAC see the power of letting go of the shame and secrecy
that accompanies child sexual abuse. We leave you with an
illustration from one of the children we have served.
After disclosing ongoing sexual abuse the child took a deep
breath, exhaled, smiled and said, "I'm gonna celebrate by having
cake and ice cream!"
"What are you celebrating?" the Forensic Interviewer asked.
"I'm celebrating getting this off my chest! Keeping this secret
has made my stomach hurt everyday."
As a nonprofit, Family Support Line relies on the generous
contributions of professionals in the communities it serves. This
includes financial support, attending events and offering their
time and expertise on the organization's board and committees.
For more information or to get involved, please contact Molly
Hampson at molly@familysupportline.org or 610-268-9145 x.18.
*
Fall 2018

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