Child Abuse Case Training in Bentonville

BENTONVILLE, AR-- It's a crime scene in a classroom. Hands-on, real-life training in Bentonville is helping professionals across the region to better deal with child abuse scenarios.

It's one of the first training sessions held at the Gunderson National Child Protection Training Center in Bentonville, since it opened in February.

Teams of prosecutors, forensic specialists, and law enforcement are joining together for the "From Crime Scene to Trial" course. It's a three-day intensive with a mock-up crime scene, actors, and taped interview interrogations. Teams then present their findings at the end of the course to show what they've learned. Stephanie Smith is the regional director for the center and she believes this kind of training is crucial. She says these cases are happening all across the country.

Smith said, "It's essential for people who are doing this work to understand the nuances and understand how to do a proper interrogation, why it is so essential to get details from the child in the forensic interview or details from other witnesses. why the prosecutors sometimes say 'I don't have enough to file the charge you want me to file'".

She said when teams come together, they share and present how they came to their conclusions. This will help other professionals look at a child abuse situations differently, and therefore build stronger cases. Smith hopes everyone participating shares their experience.

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