The Sex Crimes / Child Abuse Unit is responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases arising from incidents of sexual and physical abuse of children. The unit is also responsible for providing assistance to municipal police departments in sexual assault cases involving adult victims. All investigations are coordinated with municipal police agencies and the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services. The unit maintains a twenty-four hour, three hundred sixty five days a year on call schedule to handle sexually or physically abused children. Obtaining proper treatment for the victim is a priority along with doing a comprehensive and thorough investigation.
Because of the reputation of expertise in this field the Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit are often called upon to instruct other law enforcement agencies. This unit also provides programs for various civic and public audiences. In addition, the unit is actively involved with the Somerset County Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) which meets monthly to review and monitor cases involving children with members representing medical, social work, legal, mental health and law enforcement community, which provides guidance and help to the victim and their families, during this most difficult of times.
Our child interview rooms have been designed to put young victims at ease. The rooms are equipped with video monitoring system so other interested parties, i.e., social workers, who have their own investigative needs, can monitor the interviews of children. This eliminates the need for multiple interviews and it also reduces the number of people who are in the room with the victim during the interview.
The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office has also organized a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) to respond to sexual assaults upon victims age thirteen and older. The team includes law enforcement officers, victim advocates and a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). The team goals are to address the victim's physical, emotional needs as well as protect the victim from further harm. Police officers will begin a criminal investigation while the victim advocate provides short-term crisis intervention. The SANE is trained in the collection of evidence and qualified to testify in court. Representatives from each of the disciplines meet on an advisory board once a month to review team activations.
The Sex Crimes/ Child Abuse Unit remains committed to the mission to protect our children and their families and to train municipal police officers and Division of Family Youth and Family Services workers on how to approach and deal with these delicate and sensitive and serious matters.