8/7/17 – On WBEV’s Community Comment program this past Friday, we spoke with the Beaver Dam Police Detective whose job is dedicated to investigating domestic violence, sexual assaults and crimes against children. Detective Heather Johnson is a fourteen-year veteran of the department and is the liaison for People Against a Violent Environment. PAVE is a shelter in Dodge County that helps victims of domestic violence. Johnson, who sits on the PAVE board of directors, says the non-profit is able to provide victims a safe shelter and assistance with resources. She works closely with PAVE when it comes to interviewing children affected by abuse, which requires specialized training. Any interviewing of a child who is a victim, or a witness of a crime, is done in a special way called a forensic interview in order to make it usable in court. She says that involves asking open-ended questions and not putting ideas in the child’s head. By videotaping the interview, the child avoids having to relive testimony during most of the court process – like the preliminary hearing — testimony would only be needed if the trial goes before a jury. Johnson says she wants anyone dealing with abuse or sexual assault to know that they are not alone and that there are people available to help them when they are ready.
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