Bexar County’s Children’s Advocacy Center, ChildSafe, was recently awarded a $3,600 grant by the Texas Bar Foundation in support of the non-profit’s pioneering Investigation and Prosecution of Pediatric Strangulation (IPPS) program, where a diverse team of professionals collaborate to investigate pediatric strangulation and facilitate prosecution.
Strangulation is a felony in Texas, moreover, it is an indicator of dangerous behavior, as analyzed in 2014 U.S. Sentencing Commission report. The report recommended increased prison time for those individuals convicted of strangulation because it is a red flag of future dangerous behavior. Non-fatal strangulation assaults may not fit the elements of other serious assaults due to the lack of visible injury. Studies confirm that an offender can strangle someone nearly to death with no visible injury, resulting in law enforcement viewing such an offense as a minor misdemeanor or no provable crime at all.
ChildSafe and their partners in child welfare, law enforcement, health care, and the district attorney’s office, discovered that many signs and symptoms of strangulation or suffocation are not currently identified in the area of child abuse investigation and prosecution in Bexar County due to lack of knowledge and training on the subject.
The IPPS program enhances the knowledge and understanding of professionals working with child abuse victims who have been strangled, while improving policy and practice among legal, medical, and advocacy communities. ChildSafe’s IPPS team will train those in agencies and organizations that work with families and children at risk for domestic violence and child abuse to learn how to identify strangulation.
ChildSafe plays a significant role in coordinating evidence-based services for child victims by employing a unique model where a Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) works together to ensure child perpetrators are brought to justice, children and families are safe, and victims receive specialized treatment for abuse.
“The Texas Bar Foundation has been a steadfast supporter of ChildSafe, and with their donations, we are able to develop innovative services to help vulnerable populations,” said Kim Abernethy, ChildSafe President & CEO. In fact, ChildSafe is the only organization in Bexar County to receive funding from the Texas Bar Foundation this grant cycle.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $20 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
ChildSafe provides specialized services to children and teenagers who have been sexually or physically abused or neglected. They provide crisis intervention, case management services, counseling, and advanced therapy to aid in the healing of child victims of abuse and neglect.
For more information about ChildSafe, please visit www.childsafe-sa.orgor call (210) 675-9000.
- : Texas Bar Foundation