The Houghton Keweenaw Children’s Advocacy Center hosts a ribbon cutting and celebration of national accreditation

Children should never go through traumatic or abusive experiences. However, criminals with ill intent will still perpetrate abuse against children. In the Copper Country, since 2020, the Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center has worked with 175 cases to help victims of physical and sexual abuse document their experience and begin a journey toward healing.

Because the center opened during the midst of the pandemic staff weren’t able to host an official ribbon cutting until yesterday. Staff also celebrated the Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center earning its National Children’s Alliance accreditation, becoming the first NCA-accredited advocacy center in the Upper Peninsula.

“Studies have shown that kids that have to repeat their story or their experience with sexual abuse or physical abuse, just re-traumatize them every time that they talk about it. So here at the Child Advocacy Center, we’re able to do a forensic interview in a comfortable, child-friendly place with interviewers that have been specially trained to have kids lead the interview.” – Virginia Lambert, Program Director of Victim Support and Forensic Interviewer, Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center

Houghton Keweenaw CAC finds children most often through referrals by area schools, youth program organizers, adults, and children. After a formal criminal complaint is filed against an abuser, Victim Advocates conduct the only forensic interview with the victim. Victim Advocate Rachel Lamppa says that the interview is important to the court system. But having a victim only record a single interview may be more important so they do not have to be re-traumatized while recounting their story multiple times.

“The child never has to see an officer in uniform. They come beforehand. They’re already in a separate room. They only have to tell their story to our forensic interviewers who are trained in this. And then they only have to tell it one time. And for somebody who’s already been victimized, to tell that story is super hard. And so to be able to come to a comfortable place. and trauma-informed is super important so that these children aren’t re-traumatized.” – Rachel Lamppa, Intake Coordinator and Victim Advocate, Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center

The Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center falls in Copper Shores Victim Support. The center holds an NCA accreditation, requires regular staff training, and has received several other important advocacy certifications. The Center offers several services to victims including court support, forensic interviews, victim support groups, and counseling services. Those interested in learning more about the Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center can find more details here. Learn more about the center’s ribbon cutting and accreditation here.