New equipment designed to make child abuse victims more comfortable

Medford, Ore. —  A new piece of equipment will be making a big impact on the work at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County. NBC5 News got a first look at what it does, and what it will mean for the children they serve.

“They were designed with our clients and our patients in mind,” Tammi Pitzen, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County says.

Of the 200 or more children the Children’s Advocacy Center serves each year, their visit for a medical exam is a tough one.

“We serve children ages 0 to 18 who have been victims of child physical abuse, child sex abuse or chronic neglect,” Pitzen says, “generally the most serious of the serious.”

Part of the exam process involves taking pictures of suspected physical or sexual abuse. It can be an uncomfortable process.  But CACJC’s newest piece of equipment is making it easier.

“This piece of equipment is like taking television from regular TV to high definition,” Pitzen explains.

With the tap of a screen, or the push of a button, images are captured instantaneously and secured through encryption and passwords. They’re not only clearer and available immediately, but it’s non-invasive and a doctor doesn’t have to be right behind the lens as images are being captured.

“Sometimes the older kids like to be more involved in the exam,” CACJC medical assistant Kayla Devincenzi explains, “so we give them a little button and we can tell them ‘okay take the picture’ and then they’ll press the button and they’ll be the ones doing the exam.”

For some kids, that control is something they didn’t feel before they came through the CAC’s doors. So while a new camera might seem small to some, it could mean the world to a child in need.

“We’re always as an agency striving to be able to provide thse services to children in a way that is most comfortable for them and makes the most sense given the trauma that has brought them to us,” Pitzen says, “and this piece of equipment is a way to allow us to do that.”

The equipment was paid for through Victims of Crime Act grant funding. They are also set to receive an integrated wall system for the exam room thanks to a grant from Crater High School students and Willow Wind Community Learning Center.

Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News at 6 with NBC5 News Director Craig Smullin. Kristin is originally from the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.

She comes to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine.

When Kristin is not sharing the news she’s hunting down the best burrito, hiking a local trail or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She’s also a Green Bay Packers shareholder! If you see her out and about she’d be happy to tell you how a California girl became a Cheesehead.

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