The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Special Victims Unit responds to sexual assaults of adults, any sexual offense of a child and significant physical abuse of a child. The unit consists of assistant prosecutors, investigators, Megan's Law agents, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and a Victim Witness Advocate. The unit has the following objectives:
- To aid, assist and supplement investigations of local departments in cases of sex crimes and child abuse.
- To offer continuity to the victim of a sexual offense throughout the criminal justice process.
- To supervise and coordinate the registration of sex offenders in Bergen County pursuant to Megan's Law, collect and maintain those files in a central location and provide notification to the community when applicable.
- To educate and inform the public on such topics as safeguarding children from sexual predators, the use of the Internet by sex offenders, date rape, the necessity for victims to report sex offenses and the social services available to victims of sex crimes.
Using a multi-disciplinary approach that includes law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, family services and medical services, a maximum amount of information is gathered from victims and their families with a minimum amount of trauma. This approach has led to greater communication among the varied professionals that deal with child abuse on a daily basis. Consequently, reporting is up and victims and their families are less likely to withdraw or recant, making for prosecutions that are more efficient and encompassing.
The Bergen County Child Advocacy Center is run under the auspices of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit. It is designed to provide children with a safe, secure and comfortable environment for the investigation of child abuse and sexual abuse cases. The mission of the center is to reduce the trauma associated with investigations of child abuse and to make it easier for child victims to disclose the criminal acts inflicted upon them. The CAC is guided by a Multi-Disciplinary Team, which includes representatives from:
- Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
Audrey Hepburn Children's House
New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”)
New Jersey Division of Institutional Abuse
The primary goal of the Bergen County Prosecutor`s Office Special Victims Unit is to accomplish justice by securing the conviction of any person who commits a sexually violent crime or who physically abuses a child. In addition, the Unit is determined to make the victim`s contact with the criminal justice system as trauma-free as possible. It is felt that the multi-disciplinary approach we have chosen represents the best possible chance of accomplishing these goals.