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The Child Abuse Unit (CAU) was established in December 2011 and continues to maintain a significant caseload of challenging cases. The primary responsibility of the CAU is to prosecute sexual and physical abuse cases committed against our most vulnerable population, our children. Specifically, this Unit oversees the prosecution and investigation of all Providence County first and second degree child molestation cases and first and second degree child abuse cases, and consults on all County child abuse and child molestation cases.
The CAU oversees the prosecution and investigation of all Providence County 1 st and 2 nd degree child molestation and child abuse cases.
The overall goals of the Unit are for specially trained and experienced prosecutors to handle cases from investigation through arrest and final prosecution in child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse cases, to minimize the time cases move through the criminal justice system, and to minimize the difficulty for a child involved in the criminal justice process.
The CAU uses a multidisciplinary approach to prosecuting child physical and sexual abuse cases. This includes working closely with Day One, Child Protection Program (CPP) at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, DCYF and local police departments.
The CAU team has worked with DCYF and the CPP to help draft legislation to eventually move the jurisdiction of child cruelty and neglect cases from Family Court to Superior Court. Most of these cases involve children who have been severely injured by a caregiver and the non-offending parent does nothing to help the child. Prosecuting these offenders with cruelty and neglect charges ensures that they are held accountable.
The CAU has a very significant role in the operation of the Children’s Advocacy Center at Day One in Providence, which provides forensic interviews and clinical services for children. CAU prosecutors are responsible for approving the employees hired to conduct forensic interviews and attend interviews for sexual and physical abuse cases. Prosecutors outside of the Unit handle these interviews only if a CAU prosecutor is unavailable and currently ALL child molestation cases are being assigned exclusively to the CAU. The CAU was present for and advised on the majority of the eighty child interviews at the Children’s Advocacy Center: seventy for sexual abuse and ten for physical abuse. There are currently in excess of 100 cases pending among the prosecutors in the CAU.
Additionally, the CAU is working with probation and the courts to develop special conditions that will be included in the sentencing of child molestation cases. Currently, defendants with non contact offenses have more intense supervision than those convicted of child molestation.
If you are a victim of physical or sexual child abuse, or if you know someone who is a victim, please report the crime immediately. If you would like additional information on available resources, please visit the website of Day One at www.dayoneri.org or call 1-800-494-8100 for the 24-hour Victims of Crime Helpline.