The Special Victims Unit recognizes the urgent need to protect victimized children and prosecute offenders. Cases are referred to SVU by police departments, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency and concerned citizens.
Forensic interviewers speak to children using a format that allows the child to do the talking. Child abuse victims will have medical examinations to safeguard their health and well-being. Medical professionals may also collect evidence that the Prosecutor’s Office ultimately refers to the New Jersey State Police lab for analysis.
Recognizing that investigations and prosecutions involving child victims are very difficult, SVU operates under a multi-disciplinary approach. Not only is the crime against the child being actively investigated and prosecuted but victim services are put in place at the same time. SVU works in conjunction with DCP&P, the Office of Victim/Witness Advocacy, and local medical and mental health service providers. Utilizing this victim-centric approach, the investigative and prosecution team seeks to protect the child victim from unnecessary trauma during all stages of the case.
SVU also recognizes that child abuse cases place an emotional toll on the entire family, particularly given that the majority of offenders are related to or known to the victim. The Office of Victim/Witness Advocacy can help set up counseling and other services for the entire family.
If a child under 13 reports that her or she was sexually assaulted, it is strongly recommenced that the person receiving the report contact the Special Victims Unit at (201) 915-1234 immediately so that an interview with a specially trained forensic interviewer can be arranged as soon as practical.