The County Attorney’s Office works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners on child abuse issues. The office also works with local nonprofit and community organizations, schools, and other governmental agencies to reduce family violence and child abuse.
Child abuse cases are typically reported first to a law enforcement agency like the Nogales Police Department or Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. Once the report is made and the investigation concludes, the matter is turned over to our office for review. The County Attorney then reviews the entire investigation. If sufficient evidence exists, we then file criminal charges against the suspect or suspects. On occasion, our office asks the law enforcement agency for additional follow up investigation before filing criminal charges. County Attorney Detectives also conduct follow up investigations when needed. Once formal charges are filed, the case is processed through the court criminal justice system.
All County Attorney staff contribute to the prosecution of child abuse cases. Child abuse can come in many different ways and can result in misdemeanor and/or felony charges. “Our office has attorneys, legal assistants, victim advocates, and detectives who are all working on child abuse cases to ensure that individuals who commit these types of crimes are held accountable and justice is done for all involved. Our Victim Services Division also assist victims in obtaining compensation for certain losses, secure counseling for victims and their families, and provide advocacy throughout the criminal justice process,” said County Attorney George Silva.
The Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office has sponsored in the past and participates in the Annual Child Abuse Awareness Walkathon. April is child abuse awareness month. According to the Arizona Department of Child Safety the number of child abuse reports continue to rise as 51,963 child abuse reports were filed between October 2014 and September 2015. The report noted neglect as accounting for the majority of child abuse reports, those figures surpassed every other report type combined.
“Throughout the year, my office runs public service ads dealing with Domestic Violence, Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and the “You have the Power” campaign. These ads all encompass Child Abuse issues as well. During the month of April, my office also runs ads specifically dealing with Child Abuse Awareness in both printed, on-line, and radio mediums. My office also participates in forums throughout the community and local schools that deal and relate to Child Abuse,” said County Attorney George Silva.