BOISE An Ada County Deputy Prosecutor says victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse and child abuse now have a better chance of having their case resolved.
The reason, Boise Police moved its Special Victims Unit and Ada County moved a prosecutor to the FACES Family Justice Center. BPD's SVU and the Ada County prosecutor have worked with FACES since it opened in 2006, but now they're all under the same roof. This will now expedite cases and streamline information for victims.
FACES is meant to be a safe haven for victims, a place where they can get the help they need.
Victims in need of help can call (208) 577-4400
You can click here to contact the FACESorganization.
The co-location helps us really integrate the work we do for child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence, said Angela Curtis, FACES Executive Director.
Since 2006, 11 organizations have worked together to help victims, but up until the last few days, Boise Police and the Ada County Prosecutor's Office weren't under the same roof.
The organizations include:
- Boise Police Department
- Ada County Prosecutor's Office
- St. Luke's Children's Hospital - CARES
- St. Luke's Capital City Family Medicine
- Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center
- St. Luke's Health System
- Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
- Women's and Children's Alliance
- Idaho Legal Aid Services
- Boise City Attorney's Office
- FACES staff
Now all of these organizations, with their main offices all over Boise, are represented in the FACES building.
Deputy Prosecutor Jean Fisher says the move is monumental.
We know now that we can expedite cases. We have health and welfare risk assessment workers, and we have the ability now to get cases and really have eyes on them right away, said Fisher.
Sergeant Kip Higby supervises the Boise Police Department's Special Victims Unit.
The biggest difference is time. My detectives now can speak to the prosecutor immediately, they just have to walk down the hall, we can speak to CARES, Health and Welfare, some of the other agencies right away about a case, said Higby.
While the move helps those providing the services, it will be a bigger help for the victims.
I think most people would be surprised how often child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence occur in our community. More people will actually experience domestic violence and sexual assault than breast cancer, said Curtis.
In 2013, FACES helped around 500 adults and 1,000 children.
It gets those resources to the victim much faster, and two, the victim no longer has a big bureaucracy to get through in order to get those services, said Higby.
The Boise Police Department handles about half of these kinds of cases in Ada County. Higby says they are only seeing a small number of the actual crimes.
The hope is that having all the services in one place, a safe place, will encourage more people to come forward.
Here is a list of services offered at FACES:
- Forensic assessments and interviews
- Acute and follow-up medical care
- Civil legal services
- Victim advocacy
- Safety planning
- Protection order assistance
- Domestic violence education
- Meetings with prosecutors and law enforcement
- Information and referral