Frequently Asked Questions

Learn How Child Advocacy Centers Help Kids!

Image by Chris Lee

How do I make a report of Child Abuse?

Call your local DCF office or Police Department to make a report


  • Have as much information on hand as possible.

  • Names of child's parents/caretakers​

  • Child's name, date of birth, home address, school or childcare facility

  • Nature and extent of the injuries or allegations of abuse/neglect (is force or coercion involved, are there developmental differences?)

  • Be prepared to answer any other questions the call center or intake specialist will have for you

Who is a mandated reporter?

  • Health Care Provider

  • School employee

  • Recreational program

  • Childcare worker

  • Clergy member

  • Mental health professional

  • Law Enforcement Officer

  • Corrections, Probation officer etc.

  • Social worker

Should I/my child have a medical exam?

Yes! Even if you are undecided about whether you want to make a police report and unsure about whether you want your assailant prosecuted, you should have evidence collected as soon as possible after a sexual assault. This is the best way to keep your options open for the future. Physical evidence is very important in sexual assault cases. Physical evidence that is present immediately after an assault will deteriorate as time passes. 

What is the medical exam procedure?

These exams are free of charge and can be performed at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital!

  • The doctor or nurse will ask questions about your general health, menstrual history and use of contraception for females

  • You will be asked specific questions about the assault.

  • The doctor or nurse looks for injuries and other signs force was used, such as tender areas, marks on the skin and bruises.

  • If you do have visible injuries you may be asked to give consent to have photos taken to be used in a court hearing.

  • Depending on the type of sexual contact, it may include taking samples from the vagina, mouth, or rectum to test for sperm cells and semen. Other evidence may be obtained from fingernail scrapings, foreign matter on your body and the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault.

  • After the exam is completed, they will document the findings in a medical record.

How do I file a Relief From Abuse Order (RFA)?

  • Vermont law provides protection from abuse in families and other close relationships, including in marriage and civil unions. There is special protection offered by Vermont's Abuse Prevention Act.

  • The court staff has information about how to request a relief from abuse order and how to contact an abuse prevention worker in your community. You can also connect with a local crisis worker through the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The crisis worker can arrange to have someone other than an attorney go with you to court, and they can tell you about services available in your area.

  • You can also contact the Legal Advocate through Umbrella at 802-748-8845

What is a Sexual Assault/Stalking Order?

  • A sexual assault or stalking order is a superior court order that can protect you from someone who is not a family member or household member who has stalked or sexually assaulted you.

  • The parties relationship must NOT be: family members, a household member, or be in a sexual or dating relationship. If any of those are true then you should obtain a Relief from Abuse order through Family Court.

  • The type of abuse that is covered in a sexual assault or stalking order MUST include one of the following: stalking, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, lewd and lascivious with a child. Physical abuse is not included in this order.

  • What the order could provide may include any of the following: stay away, no direct/indirect contact, and any protections the court deems as necessary.

Resources

Vermont Children's Alliance

Stop It Now!

Darkness to Light

Step Up- Help Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Prevent Child Abuse- America

Online Safety for Kids and Families