The Grapevine

Staten Island's Space For Sex Abuse Survivors Important In Prosecution Cases

Unfortunately, one of the most common crimes that’s experienced by so many is sexual abuse, which can happen anywhere, ranging from the floors of the corporate office to outside in public and even the supposed safety of our homes.

And prior to the NYPD’s new Special Victims Division Facilities located on Staten Island, prosecution cases that require sex abuse survivors to recall what’s possibly the worst moment of their lives are “horrendous,” as one government official puts it.

Thankfully, these victims will now have a better space to open up to investigators, what with a new facility that feels more like a psychiatrist’s office than a police precinct opened for use just last month and in line with the rising #MeToo movement, where abuse survivors are sharing their stories in hopes of raising awareness for these horrible crimes.

Prior to this new renovation, the victims reportedly had to recount their experiences to investigators in either a “closet” or an open room within earshot of strangers. According to District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, this is nothing short of “horrendous.”

“It’s the dawning of a new era in dealing with special victims cases here on Staten Island,” McMahon said during a recent walk-through of the new and revamped facilities. “Any victim who walks into this space will immediately get the message that people care about his or her situation, and that they’re getting a hug or embrace by the different services that will now be co-located in this space.”

Completed by using about $250,000 of the NYPD budget, the new space is one of five across the city.

“We want people to feel like they’re walking into a living room. We want them to be able to have a sense of control, and I think this helps with that. It’s very important, so they don’t walk around and knock on doors and try to figure out where they need to go,” said NYPD Deputy Chief Judith Harrison, commanding officer of the department’s Special Victims Division, which investigates sex crimes and cases of alleged child abuse.

The NYPD hopes that the new space will make survivors more open and comfortable to talk about their experiences.

sexual assault Every 98 seconds, a person is sexually assaulted in the United States. Photo courtesy of Pixabay