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Team Approach to Child Abuse & Neglect Investigations

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — When either the police or the Department of Children and Families or a district attorney’s office is notified about an alleged child abuse or neglect case, the first agency calls the other two.

Linda Pisano, Chief of the Child Abuse Unit for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, said any medical needs of the child are addressed first.

After that, they are interviewed at a Child Advocacy Center instead of a police station. The centers offer more privacy. It’s hoped they will help the child feel more safe and more comfortable speaking.

“The child will be interviewed by a forensic interviewer, trained in interviewing children while the rest of the team watches behind a one-way mirror,” said Pisano. “We can have one interview. Everybody watches. Everyone gets a copy of that dvd of that interview and so the child doesn’t have to keep getting traumatized and we can do the investigation from there.”

Pisano said no one should hesitate to report possible abuse.

“I would urge anyone who sees something that’s of concern to them to call anonymously,” said Pisano. “That way, they can protect themselves if they’re concerned about that happening and also they can protect the child.”

The Department of Child and Families gets more than 75,000 reports of abuse and neglect every a year.


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