10 Apr Lafourche DA’s Office Hopes to Raise Awareness During National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine Russell announced that her office, in partnership with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lafourche (CAC), will be participating in National Child Abuse Prevention Month throughout the month of April in the hopes of raising awareness.
“As a society, we would like to think that the abuse of children does not happen often,” said CAC Forensic Interviewer Shannan Gros. “The unfortunate fact is that child abuse occurs at a higher rate than most people can imagine. It is important to not only raise awareness and to acknowledge all of the children who have been abused, but also to show survivors they are not alone in their fight.”
In 2005, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lafourche (CAC) was founded by former District Attorney Cam Morvant and current District Attorney Kristine Russell. Since its inception, the CAC has interviewed 3,198 children. In 2022 alone, 261 interviews were conducted and 81 interviews have taken place so far in 2023.
“The CAC was founded in the hopes of reducing trauma to children and to assist in the effective prosecution of their abusers,” said District Attorney Kristine Russell. “Rather than share the details of their abuse over and over again, the CAC provides a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach to the investigation. 3,000 interviews are a staggering number, but 3,000 interviews mean over 3,000 children had a place to go where they felt safe and free to report what happened to them.”
In 2022 another piece of DA Russell’s vision for the CAC was put in place with the addition of an on-site Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing victims with the help they need to heal when the investigation is over.
Russell continued, “Every child deserves to grow up in a healthy, stable and supportive environment. It doesn’t only take a village to raise a child, it takes a village to protect one as well.”
According to the National Children’s Alliance, over 600,000 children are abused in the United States each year; number advocates across the country hope to eradicate through tough enforcement, prosecution and awareness.