Section Commander Captain Joseph Pepe
Unit Commander Lieutenant James Kirschner
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit is comprised of the Crimes Against Children section and the Sex Crimes section.
The Crimes Against Children section is responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse, neglect, sexual assault, physical assault, and the sudden deaths of children. These cases come into the unit from a variety of sources including the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. In 2015, the Crimes Against Children section reviewed 193 cases.
The Crimes Against Children section, both independently and in cooperation with municipal police departments in the county and the New Jersey State Police, conducts investigations into allegations of child abuse. Many of the investigations include interviewing children under the age of 12, determining the cause of injury, determining suspect and victim relationships, conducting post complaint investigations, and participating in trial preparation.
The Sex Crimes section is another group within the Special Victims Unit. Its mission is to ensure a comprehensive response to the crime of sexual assault. Criminal investigations generally include the detection, arrest, and conviction of the sexual offender. It further entails providing various services and efforts designed to meet the needs of the sexual assault survivor.
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program is also administered through the Sex Crimes section. The program is funded through a grant in partnership with the Atlantic County Women’s Center, which provides for seamless cooperation between law enforcement, medical personnel, forensic units, and victim advocacy personnel. These components function together to form the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).