Monday, April 18, 2016

Mobile unit brings services to abused children in parts of Oklahoma that are short on such help

An Oklahoma nonprofit is helping abused children in the state's under-served areas get the help they need, Alex Strohm reports for The Oklahoman. Maria Rosales-Lambert, director of Oklahoma Interviewing Services, said the agency provides "culturally sensitive forensic interviews in English and Spanish, community outreach, and training, supervision and mentoring to other interviewers, and consultation to appropriate agencies throughout the state of Oklahoma. The interviewers and child/family advocates provide direct services to victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect and to witnesses to homicide, domestic violence, drug use/production and other crimes." (OIS photo: The mobile unit family room is place where child can do activities and have snacks while they wait to be interviewed)

The agency recently received funding for a mobile unit, Strohm writes. Rosales-Lambert told him that "it provides the state of Oklahoma with the unique ability to have a fully operational forensic interviewing team on site in less than 24 hours anywhere in the state. The intent is to assist local investigators by providing a team of specially trained forensic interviewers with the ability to respond to locations reporting alleged crimes against children. This is especially important when the potential for multiple victims exists."

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