Frequently Asked Questions

A: PCAC accepts referrals from DCBS social service workers and law enforcement officers only. There must be an allegation (past or present) of sexual abuse. Physicians who wish to refer to PCAC for services must first notify DCBS or law enforcement.
A: Yes, on a limited case by case basis. If a child reports an incident which has occurred within 24 hours, we will respond to the Center in order to complete a medical examination during which evidence can be collected. Our physician will complete a rape kit on a child to provide law enforcement with DNA evidence. If abuse is reported which has occurred beyond the 24 hour window, the child will be scheduled during regular working hours.

For after hours questions and/or needs you can also call 270-498-9155

A: There are many parallels between PCAC’s program and the Rape Crisis Centers. We both offer mental health therapy and advocacy to victims of sexual abuse. PCAC, however, offers medical examinations, a child friendly room for forensic interviews, forensic evaluations, and case management that is specific to the investigation of child sexual abuse. We offer these services only to children 0-17 years of age.
A: The Pennyrile Children’s Advocacy Center (PCAC) contracts with a physician who has expertise in assessing, diagnosing, and treating child sexual abuse. This ensures the child’s continued health and appropriate treatment of injuries or infections he or she may have acquired as a result of abuse. We have specialized equipment which takes pictures and also allows the physician to view possible injuries which may not be detectable with the naked eye. Our physician is additionally available to you through PCAC to answer your medical questions specific to the case. Reports of the examination and it results will be made available to you at the earliest possible convenience so your investigation into the allegation will not be hampered.
A: Treating physicians may wish to refer to PCAC for a follow-up examination and treatment recommendations of children they see who may have been sexually abused. Emergency Rooms are not equipped to provide long-term, follow-up, assessment, and care. Further, children may also be referred to our other services such as mental health therapy. Some primary care pediatricians may not feel comfortable making the diagnosis of abuse and may defer to PCAC for a second opinion. In either case, PCAC has services to offer sexually abused children both short and long term.
A: The child sexual abuse examination is more than just gathering evidence and making the diagnosis. First, the health and safety of the child is our primary concern. This examination may determine if there will be long-term health effects, any other medical conditions that need attention, or if a prescription for treatment related to the abuse is necessary. Secondly, the examination creates an opportunity to educate both the child and the parent. Many parents worry about their child’s virginity, or if anyone can tell the abuse occurred. Many child worry they will be scarred, are broken, or will not be able to lead normal lives. During and after the examination, the physician will be able to allay many of the fears the child and his or her parents may be experiencing.

Our physician and staff make every effort to ensure that the child is comfortable and understands to his or her capability the purpose of the examination. The examination is not painful.

A: Many children do not disclose sexual abuse for weeks, months, or years. Some reasons may include: the child feels the abuse is his/her fault; the child may love and trust the abuser. There may be financial reasons. The child may feel he or she is protecting a sibling, or the child may have simply been told not to tell. Whatever the reason, the child has now chosen to tell a trusted adult and is entitled to the services provided by the Center.

As stated previously, the medical exam, while ensuring the continued health of the child also reassures him/her that he/she is NORMAL. A mental health screening is also provided prior to the medical exam to ensure the child receives the level and amount of mental health counseling as appropriate. In a few cases, there may also be healed scars or other dedicator of abuse. Though as many as 95% of children who are sexually abuse have NO PHYSICAL FINDINGS or a NORMAL exam, there are 5% who do deserve treatment and documentation of their injuries. It is not always necessary to have a physical evidence of findings to prosecute an abuser.

A: Interviews conducted at school, home, police department or social services offices may be uncomfortable and anxiety producing in some children. Some children can easily become intimidated by these surrounding or feel as if their conversation with you is not private. At PCAC, we make every effort to ensure the privacy of the child is respected. PCAC maintains a child-friendly interview room with A/V recording capabilities for police officers or social services workers who feel the child may benefit from a more sensitive environment. If you would like to use our interview room, please call 270-881-1111 for availability.