A new center is up and running in
Kodiak that will help simplify the handling of child abuse cases throughout the
archipelago. Joanna McFarlin is the manager of the Child Advocacy
Center, a new
kid-friendly facility on Rezanof
Drive, across the street from the Kodiak Area
Native Association office building.
-- (Child Advocacy 1 :21 “we provide services for … traumatization
said people don’t like to think that child abuse happens in the Kodiak
community, but the reality is it does. She said the center will bring the team
of people that normally would be involved with an abuse case under the same
roof so a child will only have to visit one location and tell their story once.
At the same time, the center will help different organizations save money by
bringing a child from the village to the center and remove the need to fly
various individuals out to them.
-- (child Advocacy 2 :19 “Because
it used to be that ... have to do it one time.”)
said the interviews take place in a listening room at the advocacy center,
which has a camera and microphones set up to allow law enforcement, nurses and
other organizations involved in the case to watch a live feed from another
room. She said this allows a child to be comfortable and not overwhelmed by
lots of adults. The process is very transparent, and McFarlin said the child
will always be told if other people are watching and will often be shown the
room with the live feed so they understand exactly what will happen. The
building also includes a forensic medical examination room, as well as a family
room for children and their families to relax and wait in throughout the
said advocacy centers aren’t a new concept, and the idea is actually spreading
throughout the world. She said there are quite a few in Alaska, but this is the first one in Kodiak.
The center opened in August, and has already been put to use. She said making
the center a reality took a lot of work from many different entities.
-- (Child Advocacy 3 :36 “This child advocacy center …
center is funded through state and federal grants, and McFarlin said she is
working toward financial sustainability. In general, she encouraged folks to
remain aware of the fact that child abuse does happen, and report any suspicion
of it. She said abuse from a parent or household member can be reported to the
Office of Children Services, and abuse from someone outside of the home can go
directly to the Kodiak Police Department or Alaska State Troopers. Once a case
is opened up by one of those organizations, the advocacy center will get
involved and stay with the case through prosecution.