Outside jurisdictions bringing cases to Baton Rouge Child Advocacy Center
BATON ROUGE- With the coronavirus having many people doing things virtually, interviews are not one that can be used successfully to help prosecutions according to the Baton Rouge Child Advocacy Center.
It is why they made a decision to continue doing in-person interviews with victims despite the coronavirus. Normally, they don't see cases from outside their jurisdiction, but many agencies have been bringing cases to Baton Rouge to make sure the in-person interviews are documented.
The Children's Advocacy Center conducts interviews with children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse.
"They are just a little worried that this won't translate into prosecution," said Sharon Pol, Interim COO at Baton Rouge's Children Advocacy Center. "This is not the same quality interviews as you do face to face."
Currently, they have at least 10 outside cases that were brought to Baton Rouge over the past month. They typically see 60 cases in the four-parish area they serve per month.
"It's not just the children, the children read the interviewer's body language," Pol said. "Looking at them directly in the face where you can pull them back. It makes a difference to the child if they feel the rapport and context. That's why most people think face-to-face is so much more important."
Cases are also increasing, according to Director Toni Bankston.
"There's an increase in domestic violence cases coming through along with the other types of child abuse cases we are seeing," Bankston said.
Bankston said those cases have increased to 30 percent where children are reporting domestic violence inside their homes.
If you know anyone that needs assistance, there are the agencies that offer help.
1. Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center – Provide trauma-informed, and child-focused services in the aftermath of abuse and violent crime.
626 East Blvd.
2. STAR(Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response) - Provide supportive services to survivors to reduce their experience of trauma.
Capital Area Branch
5615 Corporate Blvd., Suite 200
3. Capital Area Human Services – Crisis Intervention Center