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Utah Opioid Task Force Convenes, Says Farewell to DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser

November 25, 2019

Today, the Utah Opioid Task Force convened to discuss the opioid crisis in Utah and to consider new programs and resources.

Miss it? Listen to the audio here:

Trauma and Suicide Screening and Response

Dr. Brooks Keeshin with the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Hospital presented on the link between childhood trauma, suicide, and substance abuse. Keeshin has been working with the Children’s Justice Centers to help screen children at risk and get them the resources they need.

The Appropriate Use of the DEC Exam

Dr. Toni Laskey with the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Hospital presented on her work to create more effective medical exams and care for drug endangered children.

Sober Peer

Ed DeShields presented on Sober Peer, an upcoming app for those struggling with addiction, powered by an artificial intelligence-driven system that measures recovery, predicts outcomes, and suggests “best”, next steps for treatment.

For more information: soberpeer.com.

BluNovus

James Hadlock presented on the need for personal connection in the fight against opioid addiction and mental illness. Additionally, he presented on BluNovus, a company that helps employers connect employees to mental health resources and works to end the stigma.

For more information: blunovus.com

Farewell to DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes presented an award to DEA District-in-Charge Brian Besser for his incredible work in the fight against the opioid crisis in Utah and in the Opioid Task Force. Besser will head to Washington, D.C. in a new role in the DEA. We congratulate Besser and thank him for all that he has done. He will be dearly missed here, but we look forward to working with him in his new role.

ICYMI: Utah AG In the News

Friday, April 19, 2019

Welcome to the weekend, Utah.
Its been a great week with lots going on and we don’t want you to miss a single thing. Below are a few highlights of our team working to protect and keep all Utahns safe.

Utah opioid overdose deaths are down thanks to Utah Naloxone and its founder, Dr. Jennifer Plumb, who is part of the Utah Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Attorney General Sean D. Reyes along with U.S. Senator Mike Lee, and DEA District Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser.

For more on the story, see St. George News: Utah Naloxone credited with reducing opioid overdose deaths.

The Children’s Justice Center Program, part of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, participated in this year’s planting of pinwheels in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month up at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Check out KSL.com’s article: ‘It is preventable’: Utah children’s hospital honors child abuse victims for more information.

Thanks to the great work of Assistant AG Jacob Fordham, some of the most vulnerable in our communities are a bit safer.

Standard-Examiner: Ex-nurse’s aide sentenced to jail for abusing elderly assisted living patients

The Utah Attorney General’s Office is once again partnering with FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention to provide a 24/7 harassment hotline, sending a clear message to participants that bullying, abuse, assault, and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.

Watch coverage on KUTV below:

Sen. Hatch’s child porn victim act signed into law

December 18, 2018

The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and a bipartisan team of legislators, was signed into law by the President of the United States. A critical step on behalf of victims of child pornography, Attorney General Sean D. Reyes led a group of 54 attorneys general urging Congress to pass this Act earlier this year. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to support and work alongside leaders who work to provide assistance for victims in their recovery process. 

From the press release  . . . .

The legislation establishes more relevant standards for child pornography victims who seek restitution from defendants and gives victims the alternative of a one-time fixed compensation payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund. The bill also allows victims access to the images depicting them, which can be important for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, and treatment. 

The Utah Attorney General’s Office actively combats the sexual abuse of children statewide through our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Children’s Justice Centers Program, investigations, prosecutions, and victim advocacy. Online child pornography and exploitation experienced an uptick in 2018 as demand continues to increase.

The fight to protect our children – our future – continues for all of us. This law is an important step in the right direction.  Good work, Senator Hatch. 

 

 

Photo by Jomar

Partners in Protecting Children: Utah CJCs & the LDS Church

Seeking justice on behalf of physically or sexually abused children and helping those children heal is the mission of the Utah Children’s Justice Centers Program. Protecting children is also a core mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Due to the intersection of vision, the partnership between the two organizations is a natural fit and a big reason why the LDS Church continues to support the CJC Program.

The CJC Program received $50,000 from the LDS Church this year, making it the fourth consecutive year the Church has given to the organization. Each year, the CJCs determine where the gift can have the greatest impact. The contribution this year will go to outlying and rural sites for the following:

  • To update interview recording equipment, a critical component of the CJC process;
  • Support renovations in several centers; and 
  • Help establish a victim advocate at the San Juan facility.

For more coverage on the LDS Church grant to Utah CJCs check out the links, below.

Deseret News: LDS women leaders present donation to prevent child abuse in Utah, Bolivia

KSL.com: LDS Church donates $75K to combat child abuse in Utah and Bolivia

Fox 13: LDS Church makes donation to Children’s Justice Center to aid abuse victims

KUER: Top Female Mormon Leaders Say Child Abuse Is Major Priority

KUTV: LDS Church donates to child abuse prevention charities at home and abroad

Mormon Newsroom: Church Donates to Child Abuse Prevention Organizations

LDS Living: LDS Female Church Leaders Donate $75,000 to Fight Child Abuse

The Utah Children’s Justice Program oversees 23 independently-run CJC sites that serve 28 counties throughout the state. Sites are designed with the comfort of the child in mind to provide a safe, friendly atmosphere for forensic interviews, medical examinations, and follow-up support services. For more information please contact the CJC closest to you

AG Reyes’ Statement on Child Abuse Prevention/Sexual Assault Awareness Month

SALT LAKE CITY April 17, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement on Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, including a highlight of the Children’s Justice Centers and the important multidisciplinary work they do to help children affected by abuse recover:

“April is both National Prevent Child Abuse Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Both speak to issues important to ensuring our state’s many communities are safe for all.  The Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) works tirelessly to stop sexual assault and child abuse and bring perpetrators to justice.  

“The Utah AGO is proud to support and work alongside community partners to break the cycle of abuse and prevent sexual assaults from taking place in domestic situations as well as work and campus environments. From our own Attorney General-sponsored One With Courage initiative to numerous efforts from NGOs, corporate and non-profit partners, we can make a difference by continuing to educate and raise awareness of the horror of all types of abuse while doing everything to lift victims and survivors to a safe place. 

“In addition, the Utah AGO has prioritized the protection of children from all forms of abuse. Administered under the AGO, the Children’s Justice Centers (CJCs) are child-focused, facility-based, safe environments in which representatives from law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical services, and victim advocacy work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions about investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse cases.  

“In an average year, Utah’s CJCs conduct 4,500 interviews, handle 5,500 cases, and serve as many as 15,000 people. They are an incredible asset to our communities and to our state. With over 25 years of experience, the CJCs’ multidisciplinary approach to supporting child victims impacted by crime and abuse helps children recover from the trauma of abuse.  

“The Utah CJC Program includes 20 locations serving communities across the state. The result is a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective child and family focused system response possible.

“One of the most effective ways we can prevent child abuse is to ensure parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to care for their children. Research shows families are strengthened when there is nurturing and attachment, knowledge about parenting and child and youth development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports for parents.  As we strengthen families, we strengthen our communities, and we protect children from abuse and sexual assault.” 

# # #

25th Anniversary of the Utah Children’s Justice Program

SALT LAKE CITY May 18, 2016 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement about the 25th anniversary of the Utah Children’s Justice Program:

“This week we recognize a historic milestone as the Utah Attorney General’s Office celebrates 25 years of the Children’s Justice Center model in Utah. The Children’s Justice Centers (CJCs) provide a homelike, child focused sanctuary for abused children to be interviewed and supported though-out criminal investigations. Cases are handled by a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, medical and mental health providers, and others who help children find their voice and a pathway to justice and healing.

“In 1991, through the efforts of community advocate Grethe Peterson, Weber County Attorney Reed Richards, and Utah legislators Craig Peterson, Lyle Hillyard, and John Valentine, Utah opened its first three centers.  In 1994 the CJCs were incorporated into a program under the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which has expanded services to 22 centers serving 28 counties. The founders envisioned the centers as public-private partnerships, with government and community support, and Utah’s program is now viewed as a model throughout the country. We are grateful to our distinguished founders for their vision, and we congratulate Administrator Tracey Tabet and the directors of the 22 Children’s Justice Centers across the state for 25 years of success.”


To learn more about the important work the CJCs do, please watch the following short video:

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