Grady County to get Child Advocacy Center - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grady County to get Child Advocacy Center

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December 27, 2006

Cairo -- Often times when a child is abused, they end up having to go over the trauma several times with prosecutors and investigators.  Usually its in the very same building the suspect is interviewed in.

Soon Grady, and its surrounding counties will have their very own Child Advocacy Center where they can interview victims, in a calming, safe environment. After a child goes through the trauma of abuse, its unfair to make them go through any additional pain talking about it. 

District Attorney Joe Mulholland says the goal of the new child advocacy center in Grady County, is to try and ease some of that pain.  

"We came up with the idea that if we had a local center, run by local people it would make it a little easier a year down the road so that when a child's case actually goes to court, to have those witnesses available, so we decided to come up with our own system, doing it down here in South Georgia," Mulholland said.

Right now the closest center is in Albany.  Investigators say when working on a child abuse case, a local center will make a big difference. "Make things a little more readily accessible for us, it would just, it would make our jobs a little bit easier," said Chief Investigator Steve Clark of the Grady County Sheriff's department.

The center is located right next door to the Grady County Sheriff's office.  When completed, it will be decorated with kids in mind. The goal of the center is to make the child feel safe and calm, and put them in an environment they feel comfortable in. "When a child's been abused they will come to the center they will be interviewed, a forensic examination will take place, then they will do a physical examination, with a sexual assault nurse," said Mulholland.

Mulholland says the entire community is behind the effort 100 percent. "The county gave us the land, the school system here in Grady county through the superintendent gave us the building, local churches and local community leaders have donated their time and efforts and resources so it's really been a community wide effort to get this thing started."

Two anonymous benefactors recently donated nearly $150,000, making it possible for the center to be a full time facility.  "They saw the need just as we did to have this thing in our local community, run by our local community because, the innocence of child, you just can't replace that," Mulholland said.

Mulholland is hoping a director for the center will be hired by February 1st, 2007. The center will hopefully be up and running by mid-spring next year.

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