Local advocacy center looks to decrease stress for children

Children who are victims of a crime or sexual assault will now have an easier time talking to investigators in Benton County.

For 40 years at the Support, Advocacy and Resource Center (SARC) has been working with children who are victims or witnesses of a crime by helping them come forward to speak with police and prosecutors.

In SARC’s old building, children were taken into an interrogation room with a two-way mirror where lawyers and detectives sat from the other side of the mirror, and Sexual Assault Advocate Rosanna Herrera says it was very unsettling.

“For them to come into a room where there’s a mirror where there’s behind there, or a detective or someone else that is watching them talk, it can be a little bit scary,” said Herrera.

Five months ago, SARC moved into a new building with a new room for the children that eliminated the two-way mirror and implanted a camera in the wall.

Right next door is a room where prosecutors and law enforcement are watching everything being recorded.

With children no longer feeling like all eyes are on them, Garretson hopes it will decrease their stress when reflecting or traumatic experiences.

“When clients come in and they talk to people who understand and who are there and listen, I think you see a sense a hope again,” said Garretson.

SARC invited the public to come out and celebrate their 40th Anniversary Thursday between 4 PM-6 PM on 1458 Fowler Street in Richland.