Frequently Asked Questions

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Upon arriving at the CJC you will be greeted by a CJC staff member and asked to wait in a living room area where there will be toys, books and snacks on hand for you and your child’s comfort. Shortly after this a child protective services worker and/or detective will meet with you briefly and then take your child back to a child friendly interview room to be interviewed. You will be asked to wait in the living room while your child is interviewed. The CJC coordinator will give you a resource packet of information explaining the criminal justice process and will answer any questions that you have. You will be given information that will help you get connected with counselors in the area if you are interested in getting mental health services for your child. After the interview is over the detective and case worker will let you know what their next steps are going to be in investigating the case. They may recommend that your child have a medical exam, counseling etc. This is a good time to raise any concerns you have or to ask any questions. 

It has been our experience that many parents have great difficulty containing their emotions when they hear their children disclose abuse. Some children may feel uncomfortable and/or reluctant to disclose abuse in front of their parents because they are embarrassed or do not want to upset them or cause them pain. Some children may feel they will be in trouble with their parents if they disclose sexual abuse. Also, if a parent witnesses a child’s disclosure they would automatically become a witness in a court case and may be asked to testify. Lastly, there have been occasions where children have disclosed abuse by the same parent that has accompanied them to the CJC. This disclosure may not have anything to do with the original allegation. Due to all of these factors it is not considered best practice to have parents accompany their child into the interview room. In cases where children are very young and refuse to be interviewed without a parent in the room an exception may be made at the discretion of the CPS worker and the detective handling the case. In this instance the parent would be instructed not to speak in the interview, cry, gasp or make other types of noises in the interview room. The parent will not be allowed to ask the child any questions as this could be considered "coaching" or leading. Failure to comply with these instructions could result in the county attorney declining to prosecute the case. 

Unfortunately this does happen. If children don’t disclose information at the CJC it is very difficult for the case to proceed forward. This is because parents and therapists are considered third parties and their testimony is not admissible in court. It is required that your child disclose the information to someone who is excluded from the hearsay rule. Those excluded from this rule are nurses, doctors, detectives and case workers. Sometimes if a child does not disclose but the parent has grave concerns that their child is being victimized it is best to get the child in to see a counselor who can work with the child over time. If the child then begins disclosing information, the counselor can call in another report and your child can be interviewed at the CJC again when they feel more comfortable talking about the abuse. 

If the county attorney accepts your child’s case for prosecution and the alleged perpetrator denies the allegation the case may go to trial. There is a possibility that your child may have to testify if the court case reaches the trial phase. A victim advocate will be on hand to assist you and your child if this is the case. Victim advocates can put children and parents at ease by educating and preparing them for what to expect in a court room. The recording of the child’s interview at the CJC cannot replace a child’s testimony on the stand. 

Investigators and prosecutors want to make sure that a child was not coached to disclose information. If a child is questioned over and over again they may think they need to tell the "person" what they want to hear or they could begin to change their story. It is best to let the professionals handle the interviewing process. Parents should avoid video or audio recording your child at home while asking them questions, as this will taint the interviewing process. Furthermore it is best practice to wait to get your child in to see a counselor until after the CJC interview has been conducted. 

If your child discloses abuse during the interview at the Children’s Justice Center the detective assigned to the case will attempt to make contact with the alleged perpetrator for an interview. The alleged perpetrator may or may not cooperate with the detective’s request for an interview. The detective will continue with the investigation and gather any evidence and other information pertinent to the case. The caseworker will set up a safety plan with the family if the perpetrator is in the home. The only time children are removed from their home in cases of abuse are when both parents/caregivers are alleged perpetrators and/or if the non-offending care giver is uncooperative and/or allows the child contact with the alleged perpetrator after specifically being asked not to by investigators. In cases where the abuser is a parent living in the child’s home the investigators may ask the parent to leave the home and have no contact with the child until the case can be investigated. The detective and case worker will set up a staffing meeting at the Children’s Justice Center with a multi disciplinary team of professionals including a Davis County attorney who will make the final decision as to whether charges will be filed or not. If charges are filed the case will proceed through the court system. The Davis County Attorney’s Office has a victim services program. A victim advocate will be assigned to the case and can assist the child’s parents/caregivers during the court process once charges have been filed. 

Crime Victim Reparations is a government funded program that pays for a variety of services for victims of crime. In the case of child sexual abuse, crime victim reparations can assist with the costs of counseling, medical care, if applicable, and in some cases changing locks on doors or moving expenses. The CJC coordinator will provide parents with a Crime Victim reparations form to fill out. You can apply for crime victim reparations to pay for anything that your insurance does not cover, such as out of pocket expenses like co-pays and deductibles. Crime victim reparations does require you to choose a counselor on your insurance preferred provider list. If you do not have any mental health coverage at all you can choose any mental health provider you would like and Crime victim Reparations will pay the full amount in most situations. If you have Medicaid and live in Davis County you are required go through Davis Behavioral Health, as they are the only entity contracted with Medicaid for Davis County. There are some agencies in the county who provide treatment at no cost, based on your income level and other factors. 

Submit Your Question

How to Report Abuse

To report child abuse call 1-855-323-3237, the child protection hotline for the State of Utah. You can also call the police department located in the city where the alleged crime occurred. Please note that if you report to law enforcement first they are mandated to notify child protective services and vice versa. Both law enforcement and child protective services are required to investigate child abuse cases. 

When you call to report child abuse it is important that you are able to give the authorities as much information as possible. It is helpful if you have a paper ready with names and dates of birth of the parties involved and their addresses and phone numbers. The most critical piece of information is the address where the crime occurred, which is not necessarily where the child lives. Without an address the intake worker will not be able to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. Referents may remain anonymous if they wish.  

In some instances when alleged abuse is reported the intake worker may not open up a case based on the information you have given them. This can be very frustrating to those who feel a child is being abused and want it to stop. Please understand that there is sometimes a fine line between what some deem as "bad parenting practices" and what would be defined by Utah statute as child abuse. It is at the discretion of the agency you call to make any decisions regarding opening up a case. However, mistakes can be made and if you feel a child is continuing to be victimized in any way please call the reporting hot line again 1-855-323-3237, to express your concerns. 

If the authorities open up a case based on the information you report to them they will assign a case worker and/or a detective to the case. Child protective services prioritize their cases based on the immediate level of danger to the child.

A child in immediate danger, such as in the case where the abuse was very recent and the perpetrator lives in the child’s home, is given much higher priority than a case that involves a child who was abused 2 years ago, does not have contact with the alleged perpetrator, and is just deciding to report now.

Based on the priority level given to the case and case work load of each worker or detective it may take up to a week or more before anything happens with the case. Generally caseworkers have to go out and make what’s called an official "face to face" contact with the child to determine their safety level. They will go out to the child’s home and introduce themselves and will sometimes set up an appointment to interview the child at the Children’s Justice Center.

If the report is made to law enforcement first instead of child protective services, a responding officer may come out directly to the child’s home and take a preliminary report and then refer the case to a detective who will contact child protective services and the parents of the child. If the child’s parents are the alleged perpetrators, the child may be interviewed at school, or another location away from the parents.

Cases involving children in immediate danger are labeled as red tags and are generally given the highest priority. Contact is usually made within an hour of the report based on the allegation. 

State Abuse Hotline

To report abuse in Davis County please call the Statwide 24-hour child abuse hot-line number for the Division of Child Protective Services.


1-855-323-3237


List of child abuse laws in Utah

UTAH CHILD ABUSE REPORTING LAW
Utah Code 62A-4a-403. Reporting Requirements.

(1) Except as provided in Subsection (2), whenany person including persons licensed under Title 58, Chapter 67, Utah Medical Practice Act, or Title 58, Chapter 31b, Nurse Practice Act, has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to incest, molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect, or who observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect, he shall immediately notify the nearest peace officer, law enforcement agency, or office of the division. On receipt of this notice, the peace officer or law enforcement agency shall immediately notify the nearest office of the division. If an initial report of child abuse or neglect is made to the division, the division shall immediately notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency. The division shall, in addition to its own investigation, comply with and lend support to investigations by law enforcement undertaken pursuant to a report made under this section.
(2) The notification requirements of Subsection (1) do not apply to a clergyman or priest, without the consent of the person making the confession, with regard to any confession made to him in his professional character in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which he belongs, if:
(a) the confession was made directly to the clergyman or priest by the perpetrator: and
(b) the clergyman or priest is, under canon law or church doctrine or practice, bound to maintain the confidentiality of that confession.
(3) (a) When a clergyman or priest receives information about abuse or neglect from any source other than confession of the perpetrator, he is required to give notification on the basis of that information even though he may have also received a report of abuse or neglect from the confession of the perpetrator.
(b) Exemption of notification requirements for a clergyman or priest does not exempt a clergyman or priest from any other efforts required by law to prevent further abuse or neglect by the perpetrator.
(Important: If a child reports child abuse to a clergyman or priest, the clergyman or priest is obligated to report it to state authorities even if a confession was also obtained by the perpetrator. The information from the child must be reported.)

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