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Efforts are Underway for Child Advocacy Center

Efforts are underway to create a new resource center that helps ensure the most reliable and credible information comes from child sex abuse victims.

The new Child Advocacy Center would operate in Monroe County and also serve Brown, Owen, Greene and Lawrence counties, bridging the gap of those identified as under-served for alleged child abuse victims. Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal said the center is long over due.

"You want an interview with a child in this situation to result in the most reliable credible information possible. Therefore, we want the person who conducts that interview to be the most experienced and well trained person possible and to use the best practices."

The safe and friendly environment will avoid traumatizing the child and limit multiple interviews. Bloomington Police Captain Joe Qualters said the center would be a big help to the department.

"Sure we've tried to make those interview rooms more friendly by putting in smaller chairs, a few stuffed animals and we may have even sat on the floor to interview a child in an effort to bring ourselves down to their level, but we don't have the space or resources to keep it that way," said Qualters.

Susie's Place is one such center in Hendricks County. Executive Director Emily Perry said Monroe County officials will need to raise 200-thousand dollars to open in February 2011.

"Really everything is going to be contingent upon funding and fund raising efforts at this point because we have the team intact and our protocols are ready to go. It's just finding a space that's going to meet our needs and securing the operating expenses."

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