Child Abuse Unit & Multidisciplinary Team
The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office Child Abuse Unit (CAU) investigates and prosecutes cases involving one of our most vulnerable populations: our children. Child Abuse cases present unique challenges. Children most often suffer abuse at the hands of a loved one: a parent, sibling, another relative, or a close family friend. This abuse also happens behind closed doors, so often the most critical evidence comes from the testimony of that child. The CAU utilizes nationally recognized investigative techniques to support and protect these children while seeking justice.
Working with a team of professionals from throughout our community, we employ a variety of different practices to both successfully investigate allegations of abuse and, more importantly to ensure that a child’s every need is met in dealing with their trauma. Our multidisciplinary team (MDT) consists of Assistant District Attorneys and Victim Advocates from our office in collaboration with highly trained detectives; social workers and investigators from the Department of Children and Families; mental health clinicians from the Berkshire County Kids’ Place & Violence Prevention Center; and a pediatrics sexual assault nurse examiner from the Department of Public Health. Each of these specialists bring their own expertise to the case so that we can achieve results that are in the best interest of these children.
Our partner in this work is Berkshire County Kids’ Place. Initially conceived in 1991 by then Assistant District Attorney, Timothy Shugrue, along with a community coalition, the Kids’ Place has grown to be both an exceptional child advocacy center and a safe and supportive place for children who have been abused. It is at the Kids’ Place that our collaborative team of mental health professionals respond to the investigation and provide trauma-focused, cognitive behavioral therapy. These clinicians provide children the tools to address their trauma and support them throughout the investigation and prosecution process. All of these services are provided in a beautiful old and Victorian house that is both welcoming and comforting and also features a child-friendly, onsite medical examination room.
The CAU team handles cases involving physical and sexual abuse of children, child pornography, child neglect, and endangerment cases. Each case has a designated prosecutor and advocate to help guide the child and their family through the criminal justice process and provide access to community-based resources.