USC UPSTATE CHILD PROTECTION TRAINING CENTER HOLDS FIRST TRAINING “From Crime Scene to Trial” BY TAMMY E. WHALEY The headlines are becoming far too common. We read about trial preparation. The strength of child abuse professionals’ court and see images of children who are abused, beaten and often testimony is often the key evidence that puts offenders behind killed by their parents, family members, babysitters or friends of bars. However, many child abuse professionals lack the training the family. Far too young to defend themselves and too fearful for testifying in court. to share their stories with someone who could perhaps protect them, these children suffer from abuse at the hands for those who The Center’s first training “From Crime Scene to Trial,” was held should provide love and affection. October 28-30. During this training session, participants spent one day in the Mock House to receive hands-on training in crime Spartanburg County reported 479 founded investigations for child scene investigation, witness interviews, multidisciplinary staff abuse and neglect in 2014, up from 419 in 2013, according to an meetings, child maltreatment evidence issues and team staffing Annie E. Casey Foundation annual report on child well-being, and and statement preparation. South Carolina ranked 45 out of 50 states for overall child well-being in 2014. “This course involved instruction in corroboration of evidence, abusive head trauma and sexual The University of South Carolina Upstate aims assault investigation, interrogation/interview to lower those statistics with its establishment techniques,” said Dr. Jennifer Parker, director of the USC Upstate Child Protection Training of the Center for Child Advocacy Studies and Center, which consists of a Mock House and is the program director for the Child Protection a Mock Courtroom that will address the critical Training Center at USC Upstate. “This course need for simulated training in investigations and future courses are intended to help teams and child safety. The intent of the Center, understand how an investigation proceeds from located at the George Dean Johnson, Jr. the initial call through the charging process.” School of Business and Economics, is to Dr. Jennifer Parker impact the well-being of children by training Parker also noted that these training courses are child protection professionals to improve their designed for multi-disciplinary teams consisting skills in detection, reporting and responding to of four to five participants from areas of law child abuse and neglect. enforcement, prosecution and child protection representation. Forensic interviewers, child advocacy center staff and other The Mock House provides experiential training for professionals members will benefit, as well. designed around evidence-based practices in a realistic setting. First responders and direct service providers, such as crime scene Funded by The Duke Endowment, training was led by Victor investigators, child abuse investigators, EMTs, animal control, Vieth, founder and senior director of the Gundersen National police, teachers, psychologists, social workers, advocates and Child Protection Training Center, and Nicki Cantrell, a South attorneys, will be able to see firsthand the scene of child abuse. Carolina expert who is a lead investigator on child fatalities for SLED. Registered participants included multi-disciplinary teams The dual-purpose mock courtroom/classroom will be used for from Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens and Cherokee Counties. Fall 2015 Upstate Magazine Magazine 14 The USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center’s Mock House provides experiential training for professionals designed around evidence-based practices in a realistic setting.
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