Special Victims Unit
The District Attorney’s Office recognizes that offenses committed against certain victims require a specialized approach for successful prosecution and protection of those victims. The Special Victims Unit specializes in human trafficking, crimes against children, family violence, elder abuse, and adult sexual assault
The new Human Trafficking Unit began in January 2015, using a new, proactive approach to protection and prevention for victims, and aggressive prosecution of those who sexually exploit children. A risk assessment helps identify high risk youth who are most vulnerable to being exploited. A team approach is used in each case to protect those who are already being exploited and help prevent other vulnerable youth from being drawn into the web of prostitution.
Crimes Against Children
These cases present unique challenges because children are easily intimidated and often they are related or well-known to the offenders they may love and trust. They are also cognitively less developed than their adult counterparts. In our Crimes Against Children Unit prosecutors, investigators and victim advocates work together addressing all of the issues they face to bring justice for these vulnerable victims.
A partnership between the District Attorney's Office and the Ralston Child Advocacy Center provides a multi-disciplinary team approach to child abuse investigations. A full-time prosecutor is assigned to the Ralston House to serve as legal advisor for child abuse investigators. The prosecutor make recommendations to investigators and assists forensic examiners in interviewing child victims.
Most often referred to as domestic violence, this is another category of crimes which often requires specialized training and techniques. Because of emotional and financial dependency which is perpetuated though the cycle of violence, women are often reluctant to testify and cooperate with prosecutors and law enforcement. It is not uncommon for family violence victims to withdraw or change their statements. Fear of injury or death, emotional and financial dependency, uncertainty, poor self-esteem, and isolation are some of the reasons these victims recant.
Elder Abuse Unit
The Elder Abuse Unit (EAU) responds to a rapidly aging population and the unique vulnerability of older adults. The EAU works closely with law enforcement agencies, Adult Protective Services, and others who are committed to holding accountable those who victimize older adults.
Mandatory Reporting of Elder Abuse
Mandatory reporting of suspected elder abuse and exploitation became law in Colorado in 2014. We received 669 reports of suspected elder abuse in 2017. Each report is reviewed for potential criminal conduct.
Sexual Assault Rapid Response Team (SARRT)
The SARRT is designed to handle tough issues in felony sexual assault cases. Using research-based practices and enhances collaboration, this approach strengthens our response to sexual assault cases. Felony sexual assault cases are some of the most difficult cases to prosecute.
Sexual Assault Victims
For many understandable reasons, victims often do not report and if they do they may struggle to participate in the prosecution. A recent study by the US Department of Justice found that only 30% of sexual assault victims report these crimes to police. They fear they may not be believed, or that they may be blamed, or they are simply too overwhelmed and humiliated to report.