Law & Order Special Victim’s Unit is a highly successful legal and crime drama show that has been running for decades and has an enormous following nationwide. But that is fiction, and the new special victim’s unit created by the University of Michigan Police Department is the real deal.
Launched just this month, U of M’s SVU will focus on responding to and investigating sexual assault crimes on campus. Rape, domestic violence, stalking and even child abuse – these will be the province of this unit. In addition, they will work to provide community education with an eye on risk reduction strategies.
The six person team was assembled specifically with their skill set in mind. Each member was selected for their prior experience in working with survivors of interpersonal violence. Consisting of two detectives, a community outreach officer, and three patrol officers, the unit will be led by Officer Margie Pillsbury who has 22 years of law enforcement under her belt.
According to Robert Neumann, U of M Ann Arbor’s chief of Police, the six SVU officers will be incorporating into their work highly specialized training on the effects of traumatic incidents on survivors. Additionally, the officers will work closely with local law enforcement, helping to identify any crimes that may have gone unreported or unsolved.
According to Neumann, this is another factor that the campus’ SVU unit will be paying close attention to. Because statistics show that a large number of the individuals who commit interpersonal crimes are repeat offenders, their relationship with local law enforcement is critical. Greater cooperation will solve more cases.
The unit’s trauma-informed approach to dealing with the victims will hopefully increase the number of crimes that are reported and thus, solved. Also, by focusing on ensuring that the survivors of these crimes are treated with respect and sensitivity, crimes can be solved without sacrificing the victim’s dignity.
While the campus SVU is unlikely to ever receive the accolades that their fictional TV-based brethren have over the years, it is likely that they will make a significant difference in many lives.
But if you or a loved one have been charged with child abuse, domestic violence or any form of sexual assault then you are going to need expert representation. After all, the deck is not stacked in your favor, and you are going to need the help of an experienced and hard working attorney. Contact us. We can help you.