In recent years, the issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse of women and children have increasingly became topics of national concern. This office aims to address the concerns of victims of these types of abuses in conjunction with YWCA, Albion Fellows Bacon Center, Holly’s House, The Parenting Time Center and other law enforcement agencies.
As a result of Prosecuting Attorney Nick Hermann’s personal commitment to combating domestic violence and child abuse, he instituted vertical prosecution for such cases. “Vertical prosecution,” a technique practiced throughout the Office’s Felony Units, is utilized to address the sensitive nature of the cases. Vertical prosecution depends upon early intervention, another key factor in the successful prosecution of cases of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and those involving children. The technique allows trained prosecutors to utilize checklists and protocols designed to elicit valuable information shortly after these offenses occur.
Victims in these cases, for a variety of reasons, may ultimately decline to cooperate with authorities once the trauma initially surrounding these events subsides. Consequently, it is difficult to deal with evidentiary issues that arise during litigation, unless such cases are carefully investigated and charged from the beginning.
But reforms did not stop there. The Crimes Against Children Unit is currently composed of one deputy attorney who heads the unit. The unit exclusively screens and develops cases involving sex offenses, domestic violence, and the abuse/homicides of children.
Also, in a further effort to more aggressively pursue allegations as well as confirmed cases of child abuse and criminal neglect, close cooperation with the Department of Family & Children Services has been established.