Oconto County offers safe child custody exchanges

Law enforcement agencies offer safe spaces for child custody exchanges and will take abuse victims to Rainbow House in Marinette
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:40 PM CDT
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OCONTO, Wis. (WBAY) - The Oconto County Sheriff’s Office and a domestic violence shelter are coming together to provide more resources for abuse victims across the county, including safe places for parents to handle child custody exchanges.

Parking lots at six law enforcement agencies in Oconto County, including the sheriff’s office, have what’s being called a “security-monitored child safe exchange site.” These sites are under 24-hour video surveillance.

The agreement between the sheriff and Rainbow House includes taking victims and their children from the scene of a domestic violence incident to the Rainbow House shelter located in Marinette. The sheriff’s office will cover the costs of transporting victims to the domestic violence shelter.

“Domestic violence covers all gamuts of every race, every portion of Wisconsin. Even if you’re a sheriff, you can still fall victim,” Sheriff Todd Skarban said.

Rainbow House says an advocate suggested creating the safe area after a harrowing experience.

“She had a client who was assaulted and abducted at a child custody exchange, and she wanted to ensure that something like that never happened again,” Courtney Olson, executive director of Rainbow House, said.

Sheriff Skarban says domestic violence for him is personal. His cousin was interim executive director of Rainbow House when she was killed by her significant other several years ago, and it helped shaped his career.

“It’s very trying on your family. It’s trying I know on my cousins and immediate family. It’s still tough to deal with. It’s a very impactful thing. So we take it seriously here, our law enforcement officers are trained, they’re trained well,” Skarban said.

The partnership between the sheriff’s office and Rainbow House is effective until October 2024.

Parking lots of sex law enforcement agencies with 24/7 surveillance offer safe exchanges