Salem County Prosecutor’s Office Sexual Assault Community Relations, Outreach Programs and Training Plan

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 for 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.

The detectives from the Special Investigations Division did have an opportunity to attend a Career Fair at a Salem County middle school and provided information about the Salem County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).  Forensic Nurse Coordinator, Toni Lou Cataldi, provided SART training to the Salem County Women’s Services volunteers and will provide a training via the Zoom application to the new volunteers from the Salem County Women’s Services in July. Detectives from the Special Investigations Division along with our Victim Witness Unit have been working towards the startup of a Child Advocacy Center. The Child Advocacy Center is a child-focused center that coordinates the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse while helping abused children heal. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the detectives from the Special Investigations Division 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.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Forensic Nurse Coordinator Cataldi is currently working on a Sexual Assault Response Team training PowerPoint presentation with voice over narration to be provided to the nurses and doctors at the Salem Medical Center along with the Inspira Medical Center of Elmer, where the forensic exams are performed in Salem County.  SART pamphlets are also available at each hospital site explaining the program along with contact information to initiate a SART activation.

In the future, the members of the Special Investigations Division along with our Forensic Nurse Coordinator will continue to contact community partners and law enforcement agencies to schedule and provide SART training.