Special Victims Unit (SVU)
The Henry County Police Department received a grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crime and is administered by the state of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. This grant is funded under the STOP Violence Against Women Criminal Justice Systems Improvement Initiative. The purpose of this Grant is to assist State and local agencies in developing and strengthening effective law enforcement/prosecution strategies and enhance victim’s services in cases involving violent crimes against women.
The Henry County Police Department has partnered with the Haven House, Henry County Courts, Henry County District Attorney’s Office, Henry County Solicitor General’s Office, and the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault Center in a collaborative effort to meet the stated goals of enhancing the safety of women victims of violent crimes, to increase officer accountability, and to participate in appropriate training to address the specific needs of racial and ethnic minorities.
The Special Victims Unit is located within the Police Department’s Criminal Investigative Division and is staffed by a detective sergeant, three detectives and a Spanish speaking liaison.
The Special Victims Unit detectives are assigned cases which involve female victims over the age of twelve. These victims have been involved in incidents of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking. The assigned detectives are tasked with the responsibility of incident follow-up and investigative actions prior to the final adjudication. Detectives contact the victims in order to provide additional services that are available at the state and local level which may provide avenues for further assistance to the victim.
The liaison position facilitates communications between public safety, the courts, the Haven House, the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault Center, and with victims themselves. The position will increase all victim contact by performing accurate and consistent communications, follow-up, and assistance to stakeholders. The liaison works with sworn personnel to assist victims through the criminal and civil justice system and helps to ensure offender accountability.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is an abusive crime that affects victims and their families long after the crime has been committed. It takes many forms - physical, mental, verbal or sexual - and it often begins with the abuser blaming the victim for his or her own feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. Victims often feel powerless to escape the violence because of the controlling nature of the abuser. But, in Henry County and throughout the state, there are systems and laws in place to protect the victims, and place responsibility for the crime where it belongs - with the abuser.
Are you a victim of Domestic Violence?
Does your spouse or partner say things to embarrass insult or ridicule you? Isolate you, withholdaffection, or physically harm you? Blame you for the abuse or excuse the violence because of what you did or didn’t do? If so, you may be a victim, or have the potential of becoming one. Now there’s help, but to access that help you must acknowledge the problem.
Victim's Bill of Rights
If you want to get on with a normal life, there are a few things you need to know. For example, did you know that you have a Victim’s Bill of Rights, or that you can file a temporary protection order (TPO) against your abusive spouse or partner, or that you can even be compensated for expenses incurred as a result of domestic violence?
Under the Victim’s Bill of Rights, you have the right to notification regarding:
The suspect’s arrest, the suspect’s release and consideration of release, judicial proceedings where release is considered, victim’s compensation, legal proceedings of a criminal case throughout the judicial process, appellate proceedings, Georgia corrections and Parole Board notification procedures and services, Attorney General’s notification procedures in death penalty cases upon suspect’s conviction.
You also have the right to:
- Express your opinion regarding proceedings/disposition.
- If bond is granted, the victim may file a written complaint with the prosecuting attorney asserting any acts or threats by the accused, and the prosecuting attorney may move the court to revoke bond.
- A private waiting area during court proceedings.
- Request that defense counsel not disclose victim information to the accused.
If you wish to exercise these rights and request notification, you must do so in writing, providing a current address andphone number to the notifying parties which may include arresting, investigating and custodial law enforcement agencies, and the prosecutor’s office, as well as the state agencies listed above at the appropriate time in the judicial process. To receive further information or assistance in asserting these rights, please call 770-288-6400 and ask for the victim services director.
Under the Victim’s Bill of Rights, you also have the right to protection from intimidation and harm. Specifically, you can file a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against your abusive spouse or partner, which orders the abuser to refrain from harassing, injuring, maltreating, molesting, harming, stalking or abusing you or your children. It orders your abuser not to come within 500 yards of you or your children, including your home, your work, and your children’s day care or school. If the order is violated, your abuser will be arrested.
What to Do if your TPO is violated?
If your abuser violates your active and valid TPO, call 911 immediately! Tell the operator that you have a TPO and describe what your abuser has done to violate the order. You should also contact your attorney or legal advocate and notify them of your abuser’s offense. A TPO is not valid unless a Superior Court Judge has signed the order. The TPO order does have an expiration date so please be aware of that date.
Domestic Violence Assistance
The Flint Circuit Council on Family Violence (The Haven House) provides services free of charge to the community. These services include a 24-hour crisis line, legal advocacy, case management, therapy, support groups, resettlement and follow-up services. Legal advocates can assist with obtaining temporary protective orders (TPO) or stalking orders through the superior court. The 24-hour crisis line is 770-954-9229. If you have other questions about services provided, contact the agency at 770-954-1008 during normal business hours.
Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Assistance
The Southern Crescent Sexual Assault center offers hospital accompaniment, victim advocacy, 24-hourcrisis counseling, legal advocacy and accompaniment, as well as other services. The 24-hour crisis line number is 770-477-2177. If you have further questions about services provided, contact the agency at 770-603-4045 during normal business hours.
Crime Victim Compensation
Being a victim of domestic violence not only affects you physically and emotionally - it can also be financially devastating. The Victim’s Bill of Rights gives you the right to receive compensation and/or restitution from your abuser. Georgia’s Crime Victim’s Compensation Program was created to assist victims - even victims of domestic violence - with crime related expenses, including medical bills, counseling expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses that are not covered by insurance or other sources.
So, if you feel helpless and hopeless, don’t - there is help and there is hope. These agencies will advise you on the actions you should take - in total confidence. Regain control of your life and the lives of your children by contacting any of the following resources:
- Crisis Resources Of North Georgia (770) 503-7273
- Henry County Magistrate Court (770) 288-7700
- Henry County Sheriff’s Office (770) 288-7100
- Henry County Police Department (770) 288-8200
- McDonough Police Department (770) 957-1218
- Locust Grove Police Department (770) 957-7055
- Hampton Police Department (770) 946-4513
- Office of District Attorney
- Victim Services – Felonies (770) 288-6351
- Henry County Solicitor’s Office – Misdemeanors (770) 288-7178
- Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Georgia Crime Victim’s Compensation Program (404) 559-4949
- Georgia Corrections & Parole Board
- Office of Victim Services (404) 651-6668
- Attorney General’s Office
- Death Penalty post-conviction case only (404) 463-2581
- State Probation Office – Felonies (770) 954-2004
- Sentinel Probation – Misdemeanors (770) 914-6961
- Georgia Legal Services (770) 535-5717
- Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 33-HAVEN
- Preventing Sexual Assault