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Grant Money to Help Fund an Upgrade of Equipment in the Child Forensic Interview Room
PORTAGE The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victim Services has awarded the Columbia County District Attorney's Office a $8,950 grant to be used to help fund an upgrade of equipment in the child forensic interview room. The award is made possible through a grant from the Children's Justice Act (CJA) program.
The Wisconsin Children's Justice Act grant program is committed to improving the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect. The program encourages county childcare professionals to work together to streamline the investigative process so that children who are victims of a crime are not further traumatized. Often, this is done by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement and social service agencies who work together from the start of an investigation.
CJA grant funds can also be used to train law enforcement officers and social workers on how to conduct forensic interviews of children. Forensic interviews provide a number of advantages. They allow for the child to be interviewed once rather than repeatedly by numerous agencies. The interviews are taped and can be used in preliminary court proceedings, rather than having to have the child testify in a courtroom on multiple occasions.
"Working together streamlines the investigative process and reduces secondary trauma to child victims," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "I am pleased the Wisconsin Department of Justice can support these important programs that protect child victims."
The Columbia County multidisciplinary child abuse team includes representatives from area law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney's Office, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The team believes that this equipment upgrade will improve the quality and integrity of the forensic interviews. The improved quality will allow more of the video recordings to be used in court thus reducing the number of child victims that will need to testify in court.