As part of the victim-focused approach, the District Attorney’s Office formed a Special Victims Unit to focus on crimes against intimate partners or with child victims. Attorneys and victim/witness coordinators in the SVU take a trauma-informed approach in their work, which requires a lot of trust-building. The work involves a lot of listening and gathering of facts in a way that doesn’t indicate judgment or blame. Attorneys and victim-witness coordinators listen to what the survivors want. Training in trauma responses is vital because symptoms of trauma can include the survivor recanting or trying to keep the perpetrator from getting into trouble. Often, the survivor will need more time to think about how they want to proceed in the case. The Lawrence Police Department also formed an SVU recently and the two units work closely.
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