WHO WE ARE
Here at Hawaii CJC, we are driven by a single goal: to make sure our keiki can move forward in life free from harm. We exist so that every child victim of violence or abuse in Hawaii has equal access to holistic resources and treatment, and every professional involved in their case is provided excellent support and training. By uniting Hawaii’s five CJCs (Children's Justice Centers) with their nonprofit Friends as a collaborative network working towards these goals, trauma is minimized and better outcomes are promoted for child victims.
Hawaii's five Children's Justice Centers exist statewide as places where professionals help children heal and hold offenders accountable.
Each CJC has a nonprofit Friends group that provides support to the Centers and children by creating a child-friendly environment and funding life-enhancing activities for victims.
We are working strategically to ensure that every child victim gets the help they deserve and that our community has the resources it needs to stop abuse before it begins and recognize the signs.
WHAT IS A CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY CENTER?
Please note that in Hawaii we refer to Children's Advocacy Centers as Children's Justice Centers. The two terms are interchangeable.
To understand what a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over, to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.
When police or child protective services receive a report of child abuse, the child is often brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview. This team can offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.