The Domestic Violence Unit is responsible for investigating and prosecuting every indictable domestic violence incident in Camden County, as well as all Disorderly Persons offenses involving violations of restraining orders. In addition, unit staff handles applications for forfeiture of weapons from individuals involved in committing acts of domestic violence. An investigator and an assistant
prosecutor are on call 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week,
to provide investigative assistance and legal advice to county
law enforcement agencies. The unit also provides training to law Domestic Violence Unit
enforcement officers and conducts seminars in an effort to educate Section Chief: Tracy Cogan
groups likely to have contact with victims of domestic violence. Unit Commander: Sgt. David Lick
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Domestic Violence Unit investigators and prosecutors are always on call to respond to calls for investigative assistance or legal advice. All indictable charges of domestic violence and all offenses involving violations of restraining orders are thoroughly investigated and prepared for Grand Jury presentation and trial within the unit.
In 2009, the Domestic Violence Unit handled 996 indictable cases and 169 weapon forfeiture actions.
Prosecuting offenses involving intimate partners is often difficult. Victims can reconcile with their abuser for a variety of reasons and recant their original testimony. The State of New Jersey and the County of Camden have declared that domestic violence will not be tolerated. The Domestic Violence Law mandates arrest in situations when the victim displays visible injuries or when Domestic Violence Restraining Orders have been violated. In addition, Camden County has implemented a program of evidence-based prosecution, which allows the State to prosecute an abuser when the victim refuses to cooperate. Every effort is made to investigate these cases much like homicides, another type of case without victims available to testify.
To accomplish this, it is essential that all admissible evidence be obtained while it is still available, such as photographs of injuries, identities of independent witnesses, 911 tapes, medical records and taped statements of all witnesses. Without the Domestic Violence Unit's efforts in investigating these serious matters hundreds of cases involving violence between intimate partners would be dismissed for lack of evidence
History has shown that society pays a high price for tolerance of domestic violence in terms of the cost of emergency room care, increases in truancy, drug addiction, alcoholism and suicide among children growing up in abusive homes. And society must also cope with the intergenerational cost of abuse. Children who are exposed to violence in the home have a greater potential to become abusers themselves. Because of this, the Prosecutor's Office has devoted valuable resources to combat this problem through investigation and prosecution. Equally important are the education and training the unit provides to police departments on proper investigative techniques, and to the community in general regarding the nature and effects of domestic violence on society.
Camden County Prosecutor Office 25 North 5th Street Camden, New Jersey 08102 856-225-8400