Some things are just tough
But we make them easier—and worth doing
Are you a police officer? Teacher? Doctor or nurse? Have you found yourself in the terrible position of discovering or suspecting child abuse—sexual or physical—and wished that it could have been someone else besides you?
We all wish that. But then a kid gives us a hug, and we remember why we chose this role. It’s because the kids need us.
Professional teamwork makes it better—for the child, and for you
Bivona Child Advocacy Center brings under one roof all of the professionals who need to be involved in a child abuse case—from law enforcement and prosecutors to medical staff and child protective services to counselors and advocates.
No more emergency rooms. No more police stations.
Bivona is a safe, welcoming place for kids and their families. We coordinate all the services—so the child typically deals with one forensic interview and one medical exam, not several; so that the other children in the family are safe; so that going to court isn’t so scary. We reduce the trauma so that healing can begin.
How does Bivona get involved?
Bivona automatically becomes involved when a child protective referral is coded AB for serious physical abuse, sexual abuse or child fatality. This happens when Monroe County Child Protective Services is investigating, which means there is family involvement in the abuse or the family is unable to protect the child. In those cases, Bivona coordinates a broad array of services to the child and family.
Bivona is not automatically called in when a case involves abuse by a non-family member or a stranger, or when the abuse is coded as MA for maltreatment. But we can still be helpful in coordinating services—if you contact us. We welcome your call; we’ll do our best to help the child, the family, and you.
Bivona also becomes involved when a community pediatrician calls to make a referral to the REACH clinic for a medical assessment of sexual abuse, or a police officer needs a place to conduct an interview with a child. Below, we’ve listed ways that a wide range of professionals can access the services at Bivona.
Read more about how Bivona works.
We want anyone involved with a child who is being abused to make use of Bivona’s services—because it’s better for the child, and it’s easier for you.
Here’s how we can help you as a professional
If you are:
Teachers, doctors, nurses, principals, day care center staff, social workers—anyone who works with children
If you work with children, you are a mandated reporter. That means you are legally required to report to the proper authorities any disclosure by a child of sexual or physical abuse, or any suspicions you may have about such abuse. Find information that will help you if you suspect abuse.
Once you do that a highly regulated process begins. Professionals staffing the hotlines will refer the case to either County Child Protective Services or local law enforcement, depending on the nature of the case.
In either event, Bivona helps by coordinating the services of all the professionals who are involved. Child sexual abuse is complicated. It can require the work of law enforcement, medical professionals, prosecutors, counselors, advocates, caseworkers, and judges. We provide them a place and a process to work together that’s healing for the child and efficient for the professionals.
Your first responsibility is to report. When you do, ask if the child can be helped at Bivona Child Advocacy Center.
For more information on what it means to be a mandated reporter, and what happens next, visit this site from Monroe County Department of Human Services:
Mandated Reporter Training
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)/New York Branch holds a 2-1/2 hour class for mandated reporters several times a year. Sessions are held at NCMEC, 275 Lake Avenue, Rochester, from 6 to 8:30 pm. Sessions remaining in 2010 will be held on:
- Thursday, June 17
- Tuesday, September 14
- Thursday, December 16
Pre-registration is required. To register, call NCMEC/NY (877) 446-6232 x 3338 or (585) 242-0900 x 3338. A $35.00 (non-refundable) fee per individual must be paid in advance (check, cash, money order, or credit card).
Check Payable To: NCMEC/NY
Reporting of Child Abuse Course
275 Lake Avenue
Rochester, New York 14608
Please arrive by 5:45 p.m. as class will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Use front entrance on Lake Avenue. There is NO LATE ENTRY into class. Download the Child Abuse Prevention Training PDF.
Monroe County Child Protective Services is one of our most active partners. When a child protective referral of sex abuse, serious physical abuse or fatality is accepted for investigation by CPS, the case generally comes to Bivona for coordination. A CPS team which specializes in the investigation of child sexual abuse cases is co-located at Bivona.
But not every case is handled by a Bivona team member. If you are a CPS caseworker handling cases where sexual or physical abuse seems to be an issue, we welcome your call and will help with coordinating resources. For instance, if you need a child-friendly place to interview a child about abuse or domestic violence, you are welcome to use our interview room. We can help with counseling referrals, setting up medical exams, or victim advocacy if appropriate.
We are set up specifically to handle child sexual abuse cases. You can use our forensic interview room while other professionals observe through the one-way mirror. A medical exam can be conducted at Bivona by a member of the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong REACH Program. Take advantage of our counseling and advocacy partners to support the child and family. Coordinate with the District Attorney’s staff at our offices.
You can access Bivona as a resource; you won’t have to take the child to the police station, and you can easily avoid the problem of interviewing the child at or near the place where abuse may have occurred.
If you are a member of the Rochester Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office or the New York State Police, and you are called upon to respond to a child abuse case, be aware that you have colleagues within your department who are assigned to Bivona Child Advocacy Center and who specialize in sensitive child cases. Contact us, or your department, about accessing resources at Bivona. Our staff can coordinate all of the necessary support services.
If you are with another law enforcement organization, contact us for help.
The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office is one of our partners, and severe physical and sexual child abuse cases are generally assigned to the DA’s Domestic Violence Bureau. Domestic Violence Bureau staff have experience in child abuse and a formal relationship with Bivona.
Some cases remain in town or city courts rather than being assigned to the Domestic Violence Bureau. If you find yourself prosecuting a case that involves child sexual abuse in any form, contact us. We can help by providing child-friendly interview rooms for court prep, medical evaluations, and victim advocacy for children and families that’s specifically tuned to sexual abuse issues.