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Arizona starts new unit to give voice to crime victims who are children

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Child Safety has a new specialized unit to ensure the voices of children who are crime victims are heard.

“Children were coming into our care, for a variety of reasons,” said victims services manager Marcy Morales.

“A lot of the times, there were criminal cases that were associated with those kiddos.”

Arizona law ensures crime victims have rights; Morales said victims who are children are entitled to protection under that law, too.

“You want to be treated with kindness and respect and dignity,” she said.

“We noticed that there was a need in helping identify who those children were, and then allowing them to exercise their victims’ rights.”

Department of Child Safety director Greg McKay said the new unit will be a liaison between the agency, case managers, police agencies and prosecutors.

The unit, he said, will advocate for the rights of children who have been crime victims.

The department will also work with a nonprofit group to ensure child crime victims get pro-bono legal services if needed.

Morales said a $2 million federal grant created the unit.

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