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State child advocates: Law is outdated

WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

  DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC -    Wednesday night child advocacy experts will speak out about a piece of legislation they say is outdated.

 A law that allows child advocates to testify on behalf of a child who has been through an abusive situation, they say needs to be revised.

 Currently, the advocates can only testify for a child in criminal court and not family court.

 Forensic interviewers use rooms to interview children one-on-one. The interviews happen in real time and a team, including law enforcement can watch from another room on a video screen.

 That prevents the child from having to relive the situation by telling their story over and over.

 In 2006, South Carolina enacted “Jessie’s Law” which allowed forensic interviewers to testify on behalf of a child, which included criminal court, but did not include family court.

 Officials with South Carolina Advocacy Centers say the law is outdated…and that they need to be able to speak on behalf of a child in any court of law.

 Kay Phillips, Dorchester Children’s Center, says “Court is intimidating for anyone and can you imagine a child going into court and having to testify against someone who they most likely love, who has hurt them… so they are facing that person and it’s very intimidating and very traumatizing for children to have to do that.”

Photo Credit: sergign Shutterstock

 

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