Safe Harbor is a child advocacy center serving alleged child victims of abuse and their families.
Children involved in abuse or neglect situations that are likely to result in Juvenile Court or Criminal Court proceedings may be interviewed at Safe Harbor. Human Service social workers and law enforcement officers jointly make decisions about Safe Harbor use.
A trained social worker or police officer conducts each interview, which will also be videotaped for future court-related use. Others (including a district attorney) participate from another room. Parents do not participate in or witness the interview.
Safe Harbor interviews accomplish several goals.
Safe Harbor interviews bring about fewer trials (as maltreaters will more frequently plead to charges), more successful prosecutions in instances when court proceedings do take place, and fewer (or no) court appearances for children when proceedings take place.
Safe Harbor is a private non-profit agency supported by the county, grant monies, and private and corporate donations. Agencies that participate in the child interview and intervention process are the Dane County Department of Human Services, Dane County District Attorneys Office, Dane County Sheriffs Department, City of Madison Police Department, Rainbow Project, Parental Stress Center / OASIS, SANE program, and many others.