More Resources Needed To Prosecute Child Sex Abuse Cases - WSPA.com

More Resources Needed To Prosecute Child Sex Abuse Cases

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Solicitor Walt Wilkins says there's nothing more intimidating and daunting to a child than walking into a court room, to face their attacker.

"Your victim that's required to testify is going to be at a very young age," 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins said.

Wilkins tells us that means a child as young as 4 years old has to testify just feet away from their abuser, many times the children are too scared to testify.

"As a result we may offer a plea deal that we don't like but it becomes a necessary fact," Wilkins said.

Wilkins believes more predators would end up behind bars and on the sex offender registry, if children were allowed to testify through video.

"I would like to see video testimony as the norm as the standard so that it would minimize the trauma to the child," Wilkins said.

Wilkins says that's just the start.

Wilkins tells us the number of reported sex crimes is on the rise, his office is currently handling more than 250 pending cases.

Yet Wilkins says not a single victims advocate on staff is trained to deal with child sex abuse victims.  

"Making minimum mandatory requirements for education would be great, it would up the bar in our ability to provide services for the victims," Wilkins said.

South Carolina State Representative Bruce Bannister agrees everyone from victims advocates to law enforcement are lacking in training.

"That's where you'll see any allocation on a state level will go to that training from the court system, to the judges all the way down to law enforcement," Bannister said.  

Wilkins tells us dealing with child victims, is a totally different ball game.

If you're not trained to make that child feel safe to tell their story, then their abuser will likely end up on the streets again.

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