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Attorney General Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault Community Relations, Outreach Programs and Training Plan
January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021
The members of the Special Investigations Division have worked collaboratively with Salem County Women’s Services to provide a victim-centered approach to all sexual assault victims going through the legal process. Members of the Special Investigations Division currently sit on the Sexual Assault Awareness for Everyone (SAAFE) grant committee, headed by Salem County Women’s Services. The committee is responsible for providing various outlets of public education within the community. Current examples are literature provided for Doctors’ Office waiting rooms and emergency numbers posted in local bar establishments. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, detectives from the Special Investigations Division did not have an opportunity to provide the Salem County student population with our sexual assault awareness program during the first half of the year. We will continue the collaboration of services with the Salem County Women’s Services to provide the necessary tools on how to report an incident of sexual abuse to the student population during the next school year.
Detectives from the Special Investigations Division, along with our Victim Witness Unit, have worked tirelessly together to startup the Child Advocacy Center (CAC). The Child Advocacy Center is a child-focused center that coordinates the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse while helping abused children heal. County Officials and Police Chiefs toured the facility and were able to see the benefit of the CAC. Interviewing children at the police department may also be a traumatic experience and they may think that they are in trouble just by being present there. To date, a few children have been interviewed at the CAC. The professionals involved in the investigation were able to view the interview in the monitoring room, with the goal of eliminating the need to re-interview the child.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the detectives from the Special Investigations Division, Victim Witness Unit along with Forensic Nurse Coordinator Cataldi have been able to stay in contact and collaborate with all of our partners from the Salem County Women’s Services, Division of Child Protection and Permanency, and the Victims Services Unit Traffic & Public Safety Office from the New Jersey State Police via the Zoom Application. During the Zoom meetings, the team brings together the expertise and skills of our different professions to assess, plan and manage each sexual assault case jointly. We plan to continue these SART and Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings, in-person at the CAC during the next half of the year.
Since the COVID-19 Pandemic has delayed our in-person Sexual Assault Response Team training, the members of the Special Investigations Division, along with our Forensic Nurse Coordinator, will contact community partners in the future to include: Houses of Worship, Municipal Alliance for Prevention of Substance Abuse (MAPSA) and Recovery Encouragement Support Community Understanding Empowerment (RESCUE) family groups, along with Law Enforcement agencies to schedule and provide SART training. SART pamphlets are always available at each hospital site explaining the program along with contact information to initiate a SART activation.