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Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office says they see physical and sexual abuse spike in children, advocacy center stepping in

Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office says they see physical and sexual abuse spike in children, advocacy center stepping in
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 5:14 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center is now offering services on the west side of the Mississippi River to make sure 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 about telling someone they’ve been abused.

“That’s the problem that we have, we have a lot of victims and they’re afraid to come out and tell their story because they don’t adequate place to come and do it,” explains Captain Nicholas Gremillion with the Pointe Coupee Sheriff’s Office.

Gremillion explains that there has been an uptick in child abuse since the pandemic, but there was no comfortable place for children to open up.

“Picture a 5-year-old, who witnessed a horrendous tragedy you know and have to tell their story to someone who they have never met in a room where you interrogate suspects. You know that’s terrible,” adds Gremillion.

It’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 make sure families and children who are victims of abuse or trauma can find a safe space.

“We want to lessen the trauma that a child experiences. So, having it all in one area, the forensic interview in a space where a child could feel comfortable. They don’t have to disclose at a hospital, they don’t have to disclose at school. They can come here,” says Kailko Harris who the lead forensic interview with Children’s Advocacy Center.

Law enforcement and the CAC staff will be working together under one roof, so any child that comes in only has to tell their story once. At this new location, the CAC will expand its services adding on 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 that group that sexual trauma group for children, teens, and for their caregivers here in Pointe Coupee Parish,” adds Harris.

The Advocacy Center will open Wednesday, March 8, offering its services to as many families and children as they can.

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