The Bridge

The Bridge

What happened to Amy should not define the rest of her life.
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Hurt and broken lives should not be any child's inheritance.
Photo Credit
Thomas Park - Unsplash

Amy’s* teacher has been concerned about Amy’s falling grades and her lack of interaction with friends. She asks Amy if there is something bothering her. With silent tears streaming down her face, Amy* tells her teacher she does not want to go to her uncle’s house after school. She whispers softly that bad things happen to her there at night…
Amy’s outcry of abuse comes on the heels of the Play It Safe class at her school. The Bridge Outreach Specialist who led the class helped Amy and her classmates understand safe, confusing, and unsafe kinds of touch.
Amy’s teacher promptly reported Amy’s outcry to authorities and a team of professionals went to work on her behalf – law enforcement and child protection investigators schedule an appointment at The Bridge that afternoon as her outcry meets the criteria for an emergency.
The Bridge Family Greeter welcomes Amy and her parents warmly upon their arrival. Amy settles in with a snack and a movie while her parents learn from The Bridge Forensic Interviewer, Family Advocate, CPI, and law enforcement, the multidisciplinary team (MDT) why they are at The Bridge.
The first step is for Amy to share what has been happening to her with The Bridge Forensic Interviewer. The interview, held in a neutral, non-threatening environment, is monitored by the rest of the MDT from across the hall. The interviewer establishes the difference between the truth and a lie with Amy; she asks Amy questions that help establish a timeline; all of this is crucial for the creation of Amy’s video affidavit.
Amy’s interview reveals information that will help the MDT as they move forward with prosecuting Amy’s perpetrator. The recorded interview is handed off to law enforcement along with the drawings Amy made to help tell her story. Next, additional evidence is gathered from the Northwest Texas Hospital’s sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) team who perform an exam at The Bridge.
The Bridge Family Advocate now meets with Amy’s parents to offer resources that will help Amy on her path to healing. Since they do not have health insurance, The Bridge is able to help with counseling sessions for Amy and her parents with specially trained and contracted counselors.
Finally, before going home, Amy picks out a very soft blanket and stuffed animal to take home to comfort her. She tells her mom and dad she is excited to read her new stuffed animal a story when she gets home.
The work of The Bridge Staff is just beginning. At weekly case review, members of the MDT discuss Amy’s case with mental health providers, nurses, prosecutors, law enforcement, and child protective services. The Bridge Program and Strategy Director leads this conversation and facilitates cooperation among the entities represented. Later, when the case comes to trial, The Bridge Forensic Interviewer offers expert testimony regarding Amy’s interview.
* Protecting children’s confidential information is critical to the mission of The Bridge. Amy is not a real person. Her story represents the services your donation provides, free of charge, to children and families throughout the upper 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

You can be a hero for children who are hurting in the Texas Panhandle

I don't like going home after school. [child doing homework with parents fighting in the background]
It's been happening more lately. [child wipes tear from her eye, looking sad and confused]
Every time he said it was because I was being bad and I deserve it. [images of little girls holding teddy bears to comfort themselves]
I try to be good, but it keeps happening. [images of distraught children]
I wish I new how to make it stop. [small child with tearful face]
"Your gift to The Bridge will keep abuse from defining the rest of a child's life."
"Thank you for helping children become children again with your gift to The Bridge"
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