Hypothetical: Your client calls and says, “My 7-year-old daughter tells me she has been sexually abused.” The client seeks your advice. Well, if you’re like me, you tell the client to immediately call the police and the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”), but is that the only advice you should offer?

Did you know that the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (“CCAC”) is the City of Chicago’s front-line responder to reports of child sexual abuse, as well as to reports of physical abuse of children under 3? CCAC is Chicago’s only organization that coordinates the efforts of child protection staff, law enforcement professionals (including police and the state’s attorney) family advocates, medical experts, mental health clinicians and the DCFS under one roof.

Within the 42,000 square foot building located at 1230 S. Damen Avenue are all the above mentioned partners who offer a collaborative response to sexual abuse of a child. The team arranges a family visit to the center (including support services, such as transportation and child life), conducts forensic interviews, and provides family advocacy and mental health services aimed at reducing trauma so that children and family may begin healing.

All of these services are available to the child victim of sexual abuse as well as the family at no cost.

On April 6th, the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center will partner with the National Football League Alumni Association for a public awareness event at Daley Plaza. “WE EXIST” is the recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Displays will feature children’s caregivers’ and professionals’ stories of abuse.  Many current and former NFL players including Desmond Clark, Otis Wilson, Bob Avellini and Mike Adamle will be in attendance, along with many of the Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County. 

James B. Pritikin, Family Law Partner at Beermann, member of the strategic board of the NFL Alumni Association, and attorney who represented Dwyane Wade in his custody battle, was instrumental in the culmination of the event and will also be present. Please click here for more information on the event.

Every adult has a responsibility to keep their children safe, Take part by joining us on April 6th and pledging to prevent, recognize, respond to and report suspected abuse.

James B. Pritikin, Family Law Partner