The University of Michigan (my alma mater!) announced yesterday that they were putting together a separate SVU of the U of M Police Department specifically to address sexual assault and harassment cases on campus. Their stated goal is to:

With the new unit, U-M officials said, police officers are aiming to increase the likelihood that interpersonal violence crimes are reported to law enforcement, enhance the responses to the survivors and hold offenders accountable.

Over all it sounds like they have thought it through (they did a massive, sexual assault specific study last year prior to creating this unit) and their press release hits on a lot of important points:

"Our SVU officers also understand research indicates many perpetrators of interpersonal violence often are repeat offenders. When possible, the officers will work with other local law enforcement agencies to help identify additional incidents that may have gone unreported or unsolved."

. . .

"Our trauma-informed approach will help ensure that the survivors are treated with compassion and respect while navigating the criminal justice system."

. . .

"Not only will our officers connect victims and survivors with a variety of community resources, including medical assistance as well as accommodations for housing, academics and work, but we also will assist survivors in creating personal safety plans,"

I don't know if this is something that is widely done (this is the first time I've heard of a major university having a specific SVU unit, but I could definitely be ignorant) but it seems like a smart step to create it. I'm already a little in love with "Officer Margie Pillsbury, a specially trained investigator with 22 years of law enforcement experience," who is in charge of the unit, comprised of two detectives, a community outreach officer, and three patrol officers. (would watch a tv show about Officer Maggie, fyi)

Thoughts, my GT friends?

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