Bartlesville, Okla. – Ray of Hope Advocacy Center recently hired Kara Marts, MSW, as a full-time forensic interviewer.
Marts’ primary responsibility will be conducting developmentally appropriate, legally defensible interviews of child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and children who witness violence. This includes videotaping, documenting and coordinating interviews with children and necessary family members. Marts will also be responsible for testifying in court when needed.
“Without centers like Ray of Hope, the interview process requires children travel to multiple locations like the hospital, police station, attorney’s office and more,” said Marts. “Retelling the story over and over forces the child relive the trauma and can be very damaging. Ray of Hope provides a safe, home-like, child-centered setting where child victims only tell their story once and have professionals come to them at Ray of Hope. I am proud to help facilitate this type of treatment for our community’s most innocent victims.”
Marts also will be responsible for public education and training about child abuse.
“Kara is an excellent fit to our organization,” said Rhonda Hudson, Executive Director of Ray of Hope. “She has a background in child forensic interviewing and the passion to help educate our community on how to recognize child abuse, step up to report it and ultimately break the cycle of violence and abuse.”
Marts comes to Ray of Hope from The CARE Center Child Advocacy Center in Oklahoma City where she received ChildFirst forensic interviewing training and experience. She attended the University of Northern Iowa and earned her Master of Social Work degree and bachelor’s degree in Family Services.
Hudson says with the increasing number of child abuse cases that come to Ray of Hope each year, it became necessary to hire a full-time forensic interviewer. Previously Ray of Hope employed two contract forensic interviewers.
Ray of Hope Advocacy Center is a child-focused, facility-based program in which representatives from law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy all work together to conduct joint forensic interviews and make team decisions about the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases. Ray of Hope serves families throughout Northeast Oklahoma.
For more information about Ray of Hope Advocacy Center, visit www.rayofhopeac.org. To report concern for a child, please call the OKDHS Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.