The Guardian Center is happy to announce the establishment of a Saline County Closed Circuit Room for the purpose of assisting abused children and certain disabled adults who testify in criminal court proceedings outside the presence of their alleged abuser. After a hearing and judicial determination that closed circuit testimony is necessary, the witness testifies in the room in the presence of the trial judge, prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, operators of the closed circuit equipment, court security personnel and—at the court’s discretion—the witness’s parent, guardian or therapist. The defendant and jury view the live testimony on a monitor in the courtroom; and the defendant is provided an electronic method to communicate with defense counsel. Only the prosecuting attorney, defense attorney and the judge may question the witness.
The project’s total cost of $5,181.92 has been largely funded by the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children, with additional funding from local donations.
The Closed Circuit Room, located in the Saline County Courthouse, will also serve as a waiting area for closed circuit witnesses and place where children’s advocacy center staff can meet with families to provide emotional support during court proceedings and as a visitation area for the Saline County CASA program. Circuit Room, located in the Saline County Courthouse, will also serve as a waiting area for closed circuit witnesses and place where children’s advocacy center staff can meet with families to provide emotional support during court proceedings and as a visitation area for the Saline County CASA program.
The Guardian Center’s Harrisburg satellite office, located at 37 S. Main, Suite B, provides child sensitive forensic interviews following abuse allegations, as well as coordination of advocacy with child protection, law enforcement, and prosecution professionals, mental health treatment referrals and specialized child abuse medical evaluations.
Saline County has the highest reported number of child abuse victims among the eight counties the Guardian Center serves. When the Center began providing services to child victims in Saline County (1999), it was anticipated that Saline, White and Gallatin Counties together would generate a total of approximately 80-100 cases of child sexual abuse each year. During fiscal year 2015, The Guardian Center served 170 children, with 32 children from Saline County and 10 children from Gallatin County.
The Guardian Center, with offices in Harrisburg, Carmi, Mt. Carmel, and Robinson, Illinois, is a nonprofit children’s advocacy center that relies on community donations and supplies to fund its programs for abused children. For more information about the Center’s programs, contact The Guardian Center at 618-382-8247.