New protocol helps protect children who are victims of crimes - KCTV5

New protocol helps protect children who are victims of crimes

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CASS COUNTY, MO (KCTV) -

A new protocol helps protect children who are the victims of crimes by streamlining the process used to convict criminals who target young victims.

It is a formal agreement between law enforcement officers, the Child Protection Center and prosecutors.

These groups have worked together for a long time but now they have a formal agreement.

Experts came together to create a best practices protocol that defines step-by-step directions for investigators when someone victimizes a child in Cass County.  The goal is to protect child victims and properly prosecute those who victimize them.

"It is a really traumatic event when your child has been abused in any way. It's scary. It's terrifying," said Lisa Mizell, CEO of the Child Protection Center.

Raymore Police Chief Jan Zimmerman said when a crime is reported and authorities become aware of that child was victimizes, they are brought to the Child Protection Center to be interviewed by a forensic interviewer.

"It's very important to make sure the individuals conducting the interview have that special training to ask the appropriate questions," Zimmerman said.

According to Mizell, by not having to tell their story to many people, it prevents the child from being re-victimized every time they tell their story.

The protocol created in Cass County is being used as a template for the entire state of Missouri.

"We consider it to be vital to the child. It gives the child an opportunity to have their voice heard. They are able to tell their story one time because it is recorded," Mizell said.

The Child Protection Center serves about 750 children each year.

It is the only child advocacy center providing service for alleged victims of child abuse in Jackson, Cass and a portion of Lafayette counties in Missouri.

Jackson County has also created a similar protocol to be followed.

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