Coloring book helps child victims, witnesses
District Attorney Jim Martin has announced the creation of a coloring book aimed at helping child victim/witnesses to learn more about the court process and make it less intimidating.
The book titled, “What Happens in Court?” will be issued by members of the District Attorney’s Victim/Witness Unit and features Ramona, a courthouse companion dog who joined the staff in 2017.
Ramona, a black Labrador, is used to bring comfort and companionship to victims and witnesses, accompanying them to hearings and court and being with them during interviews with attorneys and law enforcement.
The coloring book features drawings and activities with Ramona, her primary handler, Kimberly Silvestri and Martin.
The activities are designed to teach children more about the process of testifying in court by explaining the layout of the room and the roles of those individuals they may encounter while testifying.
Some of the activities featured in the book include “Rules While Testifying,” instructing the child to always to tell the truth and to ask for a break if they feel upset and a match game that teaches the child about the roles of a judge, prosecutor, defendant and jurors.
“This activity book was created to help introduce a child to a court of law before taking them into an empty courtroom,” Martin said. “The goal of the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office is to educate the child about the criminal justice system, help the child understand the nature of the proceedings and to reduce the stress level of the child while testifying.
“Easing the trauma of testifying in court is our goal.”