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First Step Resource Center

Abuse and Sexual Assault

First Step Resource Center, a National Children’s Alliance-accredited children’s advocacy center, provides medical evaluations, forensic interviews, mental health treatment, care coordination and referrals for child and adult victims of abuse or assault. Part of Providence St. Patrick Hospital, First Step is a member of Missoula’s JUST Response Multidisciplinary Team, which provides a coordinated response to community violence.

First Step is dedicated to reducing trauma and promoting healing for child victims of abuse and adult victims of sexual assault. We serve children, families and adults in Missoula and surrounding counties. Since 2000, First Step has served more than 3,500 patients; about 80 percent of those served are children.

First Step Services include:

  • Medical evaluations, including comprehensive medical care and evidence collection - available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through our dedicated staff of on-call nurses
  • Forensic interviews scheduled in collaboration with law enforcement or Child and Family Services (a forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child to explore the possibility that the child witnessed or experienced abuse)
  • Access to mental health treatment and referrals for victims and their families
  • Connections to victim advocacy, including services at the YWCA, the Crime Victim Advocate Program or the University of Montana’s Student Advocacy Resource Center (SARC)
  • Family support services provided by the Care Coordinator, which can include emotional support, education, information, referrals to community agencies and general information about the MDT investigative process
  • Just Response Children’s Advocacy Center Team coordination – providing leadership for Missoula’s community collaborative response to child abuse

Our approach

First Step works as part of the JUST Response team, made up of law enforcement agencies, Child and Family Services, the County Attorney’s office, advocacy organizations and mental health providers to respond to reports of abuse and assault. This team approach ensures that victims received a trauma-informed and coordinated response from the multiple agencies that can be involved in a report of abuse or assault. The collaborative response results in stronger investigations and convictions. It also allows for better supportive services for families, including mental health, medical care and advocacy.

Our mission

JUST Response Children’s Advocacy Center Multidisciplinary Team mission is to work collaboratively with families affected by child abuse toward healing and justice.

Our vision

The JUST Response Children’s Advocacy Center Multidisciplinary Team vision is to create a safe and nurturing community, free of violence.

If you suspect child abuse, you should:

  • Call 911 for emergencies
  • Call Child and Family Services Centralized Intake at (866) 820-5437 to make a report
  • Call First Step at (406) 329-5776 to make a referral or for more information

If you are an adolescent or an adult who has been sexually assaulted, you may choose to:

  • Go to a safe place
  • Call the YWCA at (406) 542-1944 if you would like support or are unsure of what to do
  • Go to the Emergency Department or call First Step at (406) 329-5776, 24 hours a day for a medical evaluation and evidence collection; you may receive a medical evaluation and evidence at First Step without making a report to law enforcement
  • Call 911 if you would like to speak with a representative from law enforcement; you may speak with law enforcement without making an official report