New Children’s Justice Center helps with rising cases in Box Elder County

May 10, 2022, 8:34 PM | Updated: 8:45 pm

BOX ELDER COUNTY, Utah — Prosecutors and advocates in Box Elder County are getting some additional help in their efforts to support victims of child abuse.

They continue to see an increase in reported cases, and they now have a new home base to get families the help they need.

That home base is just that — a home.

“They don’t have to go and do it in a police department or in their school office setting,” said Sterling Marx, the justice center’s executive director.

Marx said it’s already hard enough for children to talk about their trauma, and this home is exactly what the center needed.

“It’s somewhere that will hopefully help them feel more comfortable to be able to open up and talk about things,” he said.

Renovations started on the old house earlier this year. It was designed to create a more homey space for interviews and a place for prosecutors, law enforcement, and others to observe and discuss cases.

“We’re able to use those recorded interviews in the prosecution process, and more often than not, we end up getting convictions without having to put the child through going to court and having to testify in court,” said Box Elder County Attorney Stephen Hadfield.

Marx said during the pandemic, the number of reported cases broke records.

“Already this year, we’re up to 67, year to date. Which last year, we finished at 176,” he added.

They previously shared space with the Department of Children and Family Services, which was more cramped and not as inviting.

“The biggest thing that we hope is that people within our county will realize that there is a place where they can get help,” Marx said.

These types of crimes are troubling, but it’s important that people are willing to face them.

“People have a hard time talking about child abuse because we want to pretend that it’s not happening, but it’s important that we shed a light on it,” he said.

Marx said county commissioners approached him about the need and that moved the approval process forward.

In addition to helping with prosecution, children’s justice centers help families get therapy, medical care, and victim resources.

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New Children’s Justice Center helps with rising cases in Box Elder County