ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) - When children are the victims of abuse, the Washington County Children's Justice Center provides a safe place for a child to share what has happened to them.
"This is the little kid interview room. The walls are sound proof," explains Brook Triplett, a Forensic Interview Specialist at the center. "To get a good interview, o have it stand up in court so the child doesn't have to be interviewed several times."
The main goal of the Center is to make the trauma a child just experienced less traumatic, providing a safe place to gather evidence and allowing the young victim to share their story.
"We have a board just in case we need drawings to help with the interview process," said Triplett.
Until recently, once the interview is complete, the child would leave the center and go to a doctor for a medical exam. Now the child no longer has to leave the center, but can be examined by medical staff in a new exam room.
"There's no one else here. There's not a group of kids coughing over here or throwing up over here. Walking down the long hall to get to the dreaded medical exam room. You just come upstairs here and it's decorated so cute, and it's a little bit more comfortable," said Triplett.
"We're so excited to have it here. to be able to just work with the medical staff and have them in our building so that if we do have a victim that comes in that needs treatment immediately, that they don't even have to leave and go home and come back," said Solinda Larsen, the Center's Victim Service Coordinator.
The room was made possible by donations in the community. Now the child can stay with their victims advocate throughout the entire process.
"I think kids are comfortable here. We try to make it friendly and a home-like atmosphere, and so for them to come up stairs and continue with people they already know - it's less traumatic for the kids," said Larsen.
"It's overwhelming to have this tragedy hit your home and so if you can come to a place in this, it's ideal," said Triplett.
The center is in need of new clothes this Christmas. Often times after the exam, the children's clothing needs to be kept as evidence, and a child is given a new outfit. Any donations can be sent, or dropped off at the Center at 463 East 500 South in St. George.
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