Agencies collaborate on sex abuse, domestic violence response

Agencies collaborate on sex abuse, domestic violence response

SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - What started as a collaboration among law enforcement, prosecutors and advocates of domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Cochise County has quickly grown into a conference attracting agencies from all over Arizona.

More than 100 representatives from the likes of Tucson Police, Maricopa County, even several federal agencies, packed into the Sierra Vista Police Department to share their approaches to domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Lt. Chris Hiser said Wednesday that what works well for one department could potentially improve the response of another one.

"We're all in this together as law enforcement, advocates and legal," he said. "We're all professionals and we need to collaborate, work together, share ideas and make sure we have a coordinated community response to domestic violence."

For SVPD, that response includes close to 1,000 domestic violence calls each year, according to Hiser.

Thanks to a new organization in town, those officers don't have to make so many trips to Tucson for victims to be interviewed and examined.

Lori's Place opened its doors in January 2016. Executive Director Brenda Parker said the center serves as the first stop, and should be the only stop, for anyone who's experienced domestic violence or sexual assault.

She said staff provides all the services and support a person may need after the incident all the way through the court system and even after a case is closed.

More than two dozen interviews have been processed at Lori's Place since it opened, according to Parker. She said her team is available to help whoever needs it but they're also working towards a goal of eliminating the need for their service.

"We hope that by working with these young kids early enough that we can break that cycle of either them being a lifelong victim or being a perpetrator," she said.

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