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Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

Arkansas Prosecutors Work to Protect Child Victims During Judicial Process

July 18, 2012
"It helps them to know they're not alone," she said standing in a room lit in soft light and purple hues.  Prosecutor Emily Abbott pointed to pictures posted on a cork board in the "Kid's Room" at the Pulaski County Prosecutor's Office. "They'll see there are other kids who have drawn pictures," she said. It's a sign that the children Abbott's been meeting here the past six weeks have left their mark behind these closed doors. The room is stocked with stuffed toys and games, to help settle kids' nerves as they tell their sad stories.  "A lot of the time they're coming from pretty horrific events that have led up to them coming here," Abbott said. "It's heartbreaking, but it's necessary. We're just glad we have this place where they can feel safe. They walk in here, then they see things that maybe remind them of their bedroom or school."  Mara Malcolm is the Prosecutor Office administrator. Each day she walks by quotes on the walls speaking of justice. That's exactly what she kept in mind as she selected everything from the color of the paint to the carpet on the walls, keeping kids in mind and proving the word isn't just writing on the office wall.  "Sometimes that [justice] does involve incarceration and punishment, but it also means taking care of our victims and making them our priority," she said.  The room, in operation now for just over a month, is completely geared toward kids. But in the past, a conference room is what children saw when they walked through the prosecutor's doors. But the new room puts the kids at ease, helping prosecutors get information during interviews to put away offenders.