Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office Says It Sees Rise in Child Physical and Sexual Abuse, Advocacy Center Intervenes
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center now offers services on the West Bank of the Mississippi River to ensure children have a voice.
It takes about 40 minutes or more to drive from New Roads to Baton Rouge, that’s enough time for a child to change their mind and not tell someone they’ve been abused.
“That’s the problem we have, we have a lot of victims and they’re afraid to come out and tell their story because they don’t have a proper place to come to do it,” says Captain Nicholas Gremillion of the office. of the sheriff of Pointe Coupee. .
Gremillion explains that there has been an increase in child abuse since the pandemic, but there was no comfortable place for children to open up.
“Imagine a 5-year-old child, who has witnessed a horrific tragedy that you know about, and has to tell his story to someone he’s never met in a room where you’re interviewing suspects. You know that it’s terrible,” adds Gremillion.
That’s why the Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center is opening a safe space in Pointe Coupee Parish, working with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that families and children experiencing abuse or trauma can find a safe space.
“We want to lessen the trauma experienced by a child. So having everything in one place, the forensic interview in a space where a child could feel comfortable. They don’t have to disclose at the hospital, they don’t have to disclose at school. They can come here,” says Kailko Harris who conducted the forensic interview with the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Law enforcement and CAE staff will work together under one roof, so any child who shows up will only have to tell their story once. At this new location, the CAC will expand its services by adding a mental health therapy session.
“We have a sexual trauma group that we have at the main house in Baton Rouge, we also do individual therapy, but what we want to do now is bring this group this sexual trauma group for children, teenagers and their caregivers here at Paroisse de Pointe Coupée,” adds Harris.
The Advocacy Center will open its doors on Wednesday, March 8, offering its services to as many families and children as possible.
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