The Herald Online: Training called key in child abuse prosecution

The Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A new report says coordination and training are the keys to successfully prosecuting child abuse cases.

The National Child Protection Training Center conducted a yearlong review of child sex abuse in South Carolina.

“Our report proposes concrete steps to help those who help children,” said Victor Vieth with the center.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and local prosecutors and law enforcement officers were on hand for Tuesday’s release of the report.

The study included 160 interviews and 400 surveys with those who handle child sex abuse cases in the state.

“South Carolina’s front line of child protectors know what they are talking about. They are worth listening to,” Vieth said.

The study found most of those directly involved in handling child sexual abuse cases have no undergraduate or graduate training directly dealing with child abuse cases.

The report calls for colleges, seminaries, medical and law schools to develop or expand child protection courses.

The report recommends that every crime scene should be photographed. It also recommends gathering five pieces of corroborating evidence and conducting forensic interviews within two hours of the abuse being reported.

Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said child sexual abuse cases are “the most difficult in all the criminal justice system.” He said highly trained people are needed to handle the cases.

More than 3,000 victims younger than 18 years old reported being sexually attacked in some way in 2011, the State Law Enforcement Division reported.