Family Court

Sexual Abuse
3. What to Expect from the Administration for Children's Services and Criminal Justice System


Family Court

ACS has caseworkers who will interview you. If ACS decides to bring the case to Family Court, you will be assigned a lawyer, called an "Attorney for the Child," who will usually be from Legal Aid or Lawyers For Children. The job of the Attorney for the Child is to work for YOU, not for your parents or for ACS. Your attorney (lawyer) will protect your rights, help you find appropriate services, and make sure the judge is aware of your wishes.

Family Court does not have the power to send an abuser to jail simply because the judge believes that the abuse did happen. However, you can ask your lawyer to get an "Order of Protection" for you that is signed by the judge, which says that the abuser cannot go near you. Your lawyer can ask for an Order of Protection that is very specific and can forbid the abuser from contacting you at home, at school, or by telephone. With an Order of Protection, you can call the police if you see the abuser. The abuser may be arrested for being near you and then may go to jail.