A year ago, seventeen year old Alexa lost her mother to breast cancer. Through her grief, she has struggled to maintain her 4.0 GPA, work a part-time job to help her family, and complete graduation requirements to attend college. On the outside she may seem like she’s holding it all together, and she was, until a friend of the family broke into her home and sexually assaulted her. Alexa was referred to Harmony House for a forensic interview. She and her family arrived at the CAC and were welcomed at the door by the child and family advocate. He walked the family through the process and policies of the CAC and answered all their questions to help ease the anxious feelings. They completed all necessary consent forms, and the advocate worked to make Alexa feel safe and comfortable at the center. The interview specialist met with the child and enabled her to tell her story one time in a child-friendly environment. While Alexa was being interviewed, the child and family advocate provided supportive counseling, a needs assessment with Alexa’s family, and information regarding victim assistance, while they were in the waiting room. The law enforcement officer observed the interview and afterward the team met to determine the best course for the child. The therapist met with the child to complete a trauma assessment to determine the child’s mental health needs. Referrals were made for a medical examination by a Sexual Assault Nursing Examiner (SANE) to complete a medical exam for Alexa to ensure the child’s physical well-being of her allegations and did not see the need to follow up with these services. Through intensive work with the advocate, her guardian agreed to allow her to follow up with services, but on her own. Harmony House’s Child and Family Advocate provided follow-up services to Alexa by checking in regularly, explaining victim rights and ensuring those rights were being afforded to her, education her about victim services that were available, and coordinating mental health referrals. Alexa followed through with both the medical examination and therapy referral and has maintained her own schedule of therapy appointments. The forensic interview specialist tracked the case through its ongoing investigation and continues to follow-up with the investigators and prosecutor’s office regarding information imperative to the investigation and ongoing treatment needs of Alexa.
Alexa continues to work with the therapist at Harmony House regarding her trauma and is in the process of completing her Trauma Narrative. Due to her intensive therapy, Alexa could avoid being enrolled in an intensive outpatient program and is now considered a role model in her school. She was recently accepted into a local college with both academic and sport scholarships where she will study social work. It’s been a difficult journey for Alexa, but now she sees the light and holds Hope for a brighter future, one that she creates. As she has stated, “Why go back when you can just go forward.”
– Harmony House