New training helps sexual assault victims -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New training helps sexual assault victims


From parents, to nurses, to investigators, and so on, a child who makes an outcry of rape is generally forced to constantly relive his or her trauma.

And while every agency involved is just trying to help, children's advocates say these interrogation session can end up doing more harm then good.

Every sexual assault case is a sensitive one.

So when these victims are forced to retell their story over and over again, their mental state can be at risk.

"History has taught us that these cases are already traumatic on our child victim, but pursuing a multidisciplinary team approach reduces trauma to the victim by reducing the number of times that child has to retell and relive the horrific story that she ultimately has to relay in court," said Assistant District Attorney Catherine Smith.

Representatives from various law enforcement, judicial, educational, and childrens' organizations collaborated in Thomasville Monday for multi-disciplinary team training.

"It incorporates the efforts of not only just law enforcement on the investigative side, but it incorporates the efforts through district attorneys and the prosecution element, schools who generally encounters this," said Children's Advocacy Council Chair Lt. Scott Woodell.

"Detective Mike is demonstrating how we often stray from our goal by getting too many people involved when a child makes an initial outcry. So he had a visual representation of what happens when a child makes an outcry and the number of people they are often forced to talk to," said Smith.

Prosecutors say when a young child is forced to constantly relive his or her experience, they may uncontrollably change minor details each time, sometimes resulting in reasonable doubt for the defense.

"And when you bring in all these entities that want to tug and pull and question and talk about this incident that is very traumatic to this child of course, you get to the point where are we forgetting the rights of the child," said Woodell.

Monday's organizers say the most important message they want to convey is it's never too early or too late to ask for help.



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