August 13, 2004
A center in Scottsdale Ranch is helping victims of sexual crimes cope with what happened to them.
Open now for about 1 1 /2 years, the Scottsdale Family Advocacy Center has already made a big impact on people’s lives.
"The main focus is to try and reduce the amount of trauma a victim goes through," said Lt. Tony Markos, who leads the center. "If we can interview someone one time rather than five times, the victim doesn’t have to keep retelling the traumatic experience that happened to them."
Normally, sexual assault victims are interviewed by police, medical staff members and family service agencies such as Child Protective Services.
"We bring everyone together in one building," Markos said. "It is a much better way to provide services to victims of crime."
Since opening, the center has helped more than 198 children and adults from Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills and Tempe.
The $2.5 million center, located at 10225 E. Via Linda, is staffed with workers from Scottsdale Victim’s Services, CPS, Scottsdale Healthcare, the county attorney’s office, Scottsdale police, city prosecutor’s office and adult probation.
Before the center opened, sexual assault victims would have to wait in hospitals while more serious patients were treated first, said Kim Head, a center nurse.
"Not only do we meet their medical needs but also their emotional needs," Head said. "This is a much more relaxing atmosphere than a hectic emergency room."
The center features quiet rooms for child and adult victims, an alternative to crowded police stations and hospital lobbies.
Besides lessening the trauma a victim experiences, the center is proving to be successful in prosecuting criminals.
"We have a (greater) likelihood of having a successful prosecution because rather than taking months to put these cases together, they take weeks," said Cindy Nannetti, chief of the Downtown Sex Crimes Bureau for the county attorney’s office.
There are six victim centers in Maricopa Country and 12 across the state.