Children Advocacy Center fighting for changes in the courtroom - FOX34 Lubbock

Children Advocacy Center fighting for changes in the courtroom

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

In 2017 the Children's Advocacy Center of the South Plains served 791 abuse victims or crime witnesses. It provides services crucial for children and non- offending family members.

Derek Danner is the CAC's executive director, he said the services it provides are a huge asset for law enforcement and the state's Department of Family and Protective Services. It provides the forensic interviews for children who fall victim to sexual and physical abuse or domestic violence some witness homicides, suicides, and drug busts.

The CAC in the state of Texas covers 196 counties, the south plains office serves Lubbock and 14 surrounding counties.

"We've probably provided more 15,000 interviews in the 20 years," said Danner. "We did 791 last year and I believe that we will surpass that number here. We've done greater numbers of interviews as well in the years past."

Despite conducting the interviews for use by the state, they're not admissible in court. Danner is actively working to change that and allow children's testimony to be used as evidence. In the state of Texas the victim is allowed to testify and face their accuser in court, but having the accurate evidence from the time of the crime will only benefit the case even more. 

"There is so much change in a child's short two or three years of age in looks and demeanor," said Danner. "It is important to show at the time of the defense this is what the kid looked like."

Lubbock generally ranks number three per capita in the state for reports of abuse and neglect. Danner said moving forward he hopes to expand the center, employing more case workers to meet the increase in case loads and grow its therapy program. 

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