AAPD creates Special Victims Unit to help survivors of sexual assault

Friday, December 13, 2019 - 1:29pm

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Sarah Kunkel/Daily

The Ann Arbor Police Department announced the addition of a Special Victims Unit to its detective bureau on Wednesday. 

 

The SVU, supervised by Sergeant Dawn Murphy, will specifically investigate crimes committed against survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, according to the city’s website.

 

AAPD hopes the creation of the SVU will help better serve the Ann Arbor community and make all residents feel safe in their homes.

 

“The AAPD SVU will be proactive in their effort to prevent the escalation of violence in the home, through education and early intervention,” the website reads. 

 

Detectives assigned to the SVU will undergo training to make sure they use a survivor-centered and trauma-informed approach to each case. This includes prioritizing the safety, privacy and well-being of survivors and listening to their input into the criminal justice system, according to the website.

 

“Those assigned to the SVU are aware that survivors have endured emotional and physical trauma, which may be expressed differently by each survivor,” the website reads. “Our unit is dedicated to listening without judgment or criticism, and will always start by believing.”

 

The unit will also assist with referrals to help survivors receive counseling and medical care, request personal protection orders and work with the local prosecuting attorney.

 

SVU detectives will work with the SafeHouse Center and the University of Michigan Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Coalition to provide survivors with as many community resources as possible during and following their investigation.

 

Murphy was not available for comment in time for publication.