Despite policy, no search, metal detector used during fatal visit at Manchester YWCA

Posted Aug. 12, 2013, at 8:56 a.m.

MANCHESTER, N.H. — According to procedures in place at the YWCA New Hampshire center on Concord Street, parents attending supervised visits at the site “may be searched using a metal detector,” and will be asked by staff members to empty their pockets. Investigators with the Attorney General’s Office say a city man who shot and killed his 9-year-old son before turning the gun on himself Sunday morning did so during a supervised visit with the child.

Investigators with the Attorney General’s Office say a city man who shot and killed his 9-year-old son before turning the gun on himself Sunday morning did so during a supervised visit with the child.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said Muni Savyon of Manchester was not subject to such a search prior to meeting with his son, Joshua, and a counselor.

A message left at the home of YWCA CEO Monica Zulauf seeking comment on the incident and security procedures at the 72 Concord St. center was not returned Sunday night.

According to the YWCA’s website, the center offers several visitation-related services. Fully supervised visits are held at the center and are to be constantly monitored by a visitation supervisor watching and listening during the entire visit. Semi-supervised visits are held at the center in which a visitation supervisor periodically checks in, observes and offers assistance as needed. According to the YWCA’s Supervised Visitation and Child Exchange Center welcome packet, “The center shall decline to accept a case when we cannot reasonably ensure the safety of all individuals.”

The welcome packet on the YWCA website details the following safety procedures: a surveillance system used to monitor the entryway and each room within the center; separate entrances, hallways, and waiting areas, and staffing the center with qualified staff and Manchester police officers on site during visits when deemed necessary.

In terms of staff training, the welcome packet states, “The center’s staff are trained to monitor and appropriately intervene during visits. The program’s primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of everyone using the center. All staff are required to participate in specialized training to supervise visits. The training prepares individuals to directly support children, residential and non-residential parents in a safe and positive family visit. The training is focused on understanding aspects of family violence, facilitating parent/child visits, child development, the philosophy and history of visitation centers, the importance of safety, objective note-taking, the impact of substance abuse on visitation, legal and ethical concerns, and how to work with children who have witnessed domestic violence.”

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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