When a child abuse case goes to trial, the child may be asked to testify in court. It takes courage for a child to speak in front of a courtroom and tell the truth about what happened to them. Lotus provides resources and support to empower children to “be brave” as they navigate the justice process while healing from trauma.
Lotus advocates help child victims and their caregivers navigate the legal system and make decisions. It’s important for child victims and families to understand all of their rights and options. With court education, case tracking, updates and court accompaniment, advocates help victims and their families feel confident and supported throughout the criminal and civil justice processes.
With multi-year support from the Kentucky Bar Foundation, Lotus has created educational tools carrying the theme “be brave” to help children prepare for court using imagery and language that they understand. These tools include a coloring book, flip cards with the roles and names of the people involved in the justice process, and a video that empowers children to be brave when preparing for court with their caregivers.
Be BRAVE means:
Breathe in brave
Aware of self
Visualize safe space
In reviewing the tools together, Lotus advocates guide children to learn what a courtroom looks like, who will be in the courtroom and why they are there, and what will happen on the day of the trial.
“The Lotus court preparatory video allows children and their caregivers to become familiar with the people, places and things they will experience as their case progresses.”
—Aimee Clymer-Hancock, First Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Graves County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office
The preparatory video illustrates the perspective of a child who has already been through the justice process. Research shows that fear and anxiety about an impending event can be eased after watching someone successfully complete the event first. The goal of the preparatory video is to put children’s minds at ease by empowering them with knowledge of the process.
Partners from McCracken county and Graves county were featured in the video, including Melissa Dillon, McCracken County Sheriff’s Dept. Chief Bailiff; John Beasley, Assistant Graves County Commonwealth’s Attorney and Head of the Drug Enforcement Unit; Richie Kemp, Graves County Commonwealth’s Attorney; Todd Jones, McCracken County District Judge, and Aimee Clymer-Hancock, First Assistant Graves County Commonwealth’s Attorney and creator of the Vulnerable Victim Unit.
“All prosecutors know that success in trial begins with preparation,” said Clymer-Hancock. “The Lotus court preparatory video allows children and their caregivers to become familiar with the people, places and things they will experience as their case progresses. Children are not small adults, and we should never expect them to display an adult-like response to the criminal justice system. Children know the truth of their victimization, but they made need help finding the confidence to face their abuser in a court of law. As a child abuse prosecutor, I am grateful to partner with Lotus in the creation of a court prep video that empowers our child victims to confidently fight for justice!”
The Be BRAVE project was made possible with grant funding from the Kentucky Bar Foundation. Lotus is proud to partner with Kentucky Bar Foundation to improve safety, healing, and justice outcomes for children and families in the Purchase Area.