What We Do
We provide a single point of contact for the victim. Once a referral has been made, we coordinate with law enforcement and medical and social professionals to provide the following services all within a single facility.
SafeSpace provides forensic interviews for children who are victims of, or witnesses, to crime. These interviews are conducted by Oregon Child Forensic Interview Trained (OCFIT) personnel who uniquely structure each conversation with a child. Interviews are audio and video recorded and observed by involved law enforcement and/or the Department of Human Services (DHS) staff to reduce the number of times that children are asked to tell their story.
At SafeSpace, we strive to create a child-friendly environment that allows children to speak freely and openly without fear of judgment. Interviewers assist in guiding the conversation by asking non-leading questions along the way. Children are welcome to use drawings or writing to express their experiences if needed.
When concerns of child abuse are present, a child may receive a medical exam at SafeSpace. This exam is provided by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant with specialized training in child abuse exams.
Medical exams are important for a number of reasons:
To document any physical evidence;
To document the child’s statement to a doctor;
To diagnose and treat any health problems related to the abuse including injuries or infections;
To reassure the child and parent that the child’s body is safe and healthy.
A medical exam begins with a one-on-one conversation with the child’s parent/guardian, in which the doctor collects information and answers questions before the exam. The doctor then meets with the child to conduct a head-to-toe physical examination, which may include photo documentation.
This exam is very different from a standard visit to a primary care physician. The child medical exam closely resembles a well-child exam, with the added use of a special light and camera to take a look at areas that may have been injured at the time of the abuse. The exam does not hurt—we do not administer shots or blood samples during this exam.
Child advocacy and support
A victim advocate is present to support children and their non-offending family members through the duration of their visit to SafeSpace. Advocates provide referrals to community agencies to meet a family’s legal, financial, physical, and mental health needs. Their goal is to cultivate a space that allows families to express concerns, ask questions, and navigate revolving emotions during this process. Advocates will maintain contact with a family even after they leave our center to ensure that they have ongoing support in their journey to healing.
Mental health treatment referrals
SafeSpace has agreements with local mental health providers and the child and family advocate will coordinate services and make appropriate referrals to other community resources.