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Child Abuse Unit

NWDA Child Abuse Unit Staff:

Linda Pisano, Chief of Child Abuse Unit, Assistant District Attorney The Chief of the Child Abuse Unit is responsible for the administrative and investigative management of the Unit, plea negotiations, conducts trials and handles sentencing recommendations.

Caleb Weiner, CAU Assistant District Attorney The Unit’s Assistant District Attorney supervises investigations, directs the filing of criminal charges, handles plea negotiations and conduct trials and sentencing recommendations.

Heather Hubbard, CAU Administrator Responsible for maintaining and updating all case files, assists in the scheduling of interviews, and is the chief liaison between the Child Abuse Unit, law enforcement and Child Protective Services.

Suzanne Koch, Child Forensic Interviewer Professional who is specially trained to conduct a child-centered, legally sound interview of a child.  The Forensic Interviewer is the team member who interviews the child during the S.A.I.N. interview in a developmentally appropriate and child-friendly manner.

Family Service Advocates:

Family Service Advocates for Hampshire County cases (413) 586 – 9225:

•             Sidney Reavey

Family Service Advocates for Franklin County cases (413) 774 – 3186:

•             Debra Kierstead

•             Linda Rogers

The Family Service Advocate assists the child victim and non-offending family members throughout the entire legal process.  As a more specifically designated Victim Witness Advocate, a Family Service Advocate works to meet the needs of child victims and their non-offending family members during the process of an investigation, throughout any following court proceedings and any post-conviction proceedings as accorded by the Victim Bill of Rights

This assistance is accomplished by explaining to and updating families about these different processes. Advocates also supply information about available resources. Advocates are able to make further referrals, such as mental health referrals, in order to aid in a victim’s healing process. 

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit (C.A.U.) established in 1987, consists of assistant district attorneys, family service advocates, and child interview specialists who work closely with law enforcement and child protective services workers to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to child abuse (S.A.I.N.) .

The C.A.U.'s mission is to stop child abuse and child abusers, to protect children, and to keep children and families safe, healthy, and strong.  The Unit specializes in investigating and prosecuting cases involving the abuse of children and uses a child-friendly setting, the Children's Advocacy Center to help children feel comfortable and safe.  The C.A.U.  partners with local and national experts to seek just outcomes and to provide support, medical care, and mental health services to victims and their families.

Child abuse cases are singularly difficult to prosecute. No other type of case presents such consistently complex psychological and social dynamics. No other type of case so often requires the assistant district attorney to go to trial with a child as the most crucial witness.  Child abuse victims face unique challenges.  In the vast majority of these cases the offender is a trusted authority figure - family member, friend, neighbor, babysitter, clergy member, scout master or teacher - who physically or sexually abuses a child dependent on that person. And unlike victims of most other crimes, child victims of abuse are sometimes castigated as villains by family members and friends who hold them responsible for shattering the family structure.

The specifics of a child abuse investigation depend on the type of report alleged, such as physical, sexual, kidnapping, luring/enticing, internet crimes, endangering or neglect; the child's age and ability to communicate, and how soon the report is received after an abuse incident.

 

 

 

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