Frequently Asked Questions



Upon arriving at the CJC, you will be greeted by a friendly CJC staff member and asked to wait in a family room area where there will be toys, books, drinks, and snacks for you and your child’s comfort. Shortly after this, a forensic interview specialist will introduce themselves to you and your child before walking them back to a child-friendly interview room to be interviewed. While your child is in the interview, you will be asked to remain in the waiting area. The CJC coordinator meets with parents and caregivers. She will give you a resource packet of information explaining the criminal justice process and will answer any questions that you have. If your child needs counseling, you will learn how to connect with mental health professionals in the area. After the interview is over, the detective and caseworker will meet with you and 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. If you have any concerns or questions, that will be the perfect time to voice them.

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 or reluctant to disclose abuse in front of their parents because they are embarrassed or do not want to upset them. Some children may feel they will be in trouble with their parents if they disclose abuse. Also, if a parent witnesses a child’s disclosure, they may become a witness in a court case and not be allowed in the courtroom during court proceedings. Lastly, there have been occasions where children have disclosed abuse by the same parent that 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 best practice to have parents accompany their child into the interview room. CPS workers and detectives handling the case may make an exception if a child is very young and refuses an interview without their parent present. Parents would be instructed not to speak or interact with their children during the interview. The parent will not be allowed to answer questions on their child’s behalf as this could be coaching or leading a child to disclose abuse. Failure to comply with these instructions could result in the county attorney declining to prosecute the case. 

Unfortunately and understandably, this does happen. If children don’t disclose information at the CJC, it is difficult for the case to proceed forward. Disclosures to therapists or other third parties cannot take the place of disclosure to investigators as others are considered third parties, and their testimony is not admissible in court. Your child must disclose the information to someone exempt from hearsay rules. This rule does not apply to nurses, doctors, detectives, or caseworkers. If a child does not disclose, but the parent has grave concerns that their child is being victimized, it is best to see a counselor who can work with the child over time. If your child begins disclosing information, the counselor can file another report, and your child can be interviewed at the CJC again when they feel more comfortable.

If the county attorney accepts your child’s case for prosecution, 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 courtroom. The recording of the child’s interview at the CJC cannot replace a child’s testimony on the stand.

Prosecutors and investigators want to ensure that children are not coached into disclosing information about abuse. If a child is questioned repeatedly, they might begin to tell the person what they want to hear, or they might alter their story. It is best to let the interview specialist handle the interviewing process. Parents should avoid video or audio recording their children at home while questioning them, as this could be perceived as coaching and be detrimental to the investigation.

If your child discloses abuse during the interview, the detective and case worker with child protective services will continue with their investigation. They may need to corroborate certain things a child discloses, such as where the abuse occurred. The detective will continue the investigation and gather evidence and information pertinent to the case. 

If the perpetrator is in the home, the caseworker is required to set up a safety plan with the family. In cases of abuse, children are only removed from their home when both parents or caregivers are alleged perpetrators; or if the non-offending caregiver is uncooperative or allows the child contact with the alleged perpetrator after being asked not to by investigators. In cases where the abuser is a parent living in the home, the investigators may ask that parent to leave the house and have no contact with the child until there has been an investigation.

The detective and case worker will set up a case review meeting at the Children’s Justice Center. A multi-disciplinary team of professionals, including a special victims unit prosecutor, will decide if a case is accepted for prosecution or declined due to lack of evidence. 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 and can assist the parents or caregivers during the court process. 

The Victim Services Coordinator will discuss evidence-based and trauma-focused mental health treatment options for your child during your visit to the Center. She will also inform you about Crime Victim Reparations, a government-funded program that pays for services for victims of crime. In the case of child abuse, Crime Victim Reparations can assist with the costs of counseling, medical care (if applicable), and changing locks on doors or moving expenses. 
The CJC Coordinator will provide parents with a Crime Victim Reparations form to fill in and sends the form to the crime office for processing. It can take up to 4-6 weeks to be processed before you receive a letter stating if your application was accepted or denied. Denials are rare and should be reported to the CJC Coordinator so she can investigate and appeal on your behalf.


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How to Report Abuse

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 Statewide 24-hour child abuse hot-line number for the Division of Child Protective Services.


List of child abuse laws in Utah

Utah Code 62A-4a-403. Reporting Requirements.

(1) Except as provided in Subsection (2), when any 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.)