The state of New Jersey formed a new division within the state Attorney General’s Office to prevent future violence. The Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance will enact a unified strategy by advancing policies that support survivors of sexual and other violence.
How may this new division help sexual abuse survivors?
Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance
This new division centralizes victim-related, prevention and violence intervention services that various divisions of the Department of Law and Public Safety previously shared. This division provides a dedicated team of experienced professionals to guide, develop and expand programs intended to intervene in and prevent violence.
How VIVA may help sexual abuse survivors
The goal of VIVA is to expand upon previous efforts by the state to prioritize combatting sexual violence and supporting survivors. Examples of previous efforts include legislation that expanded the rights of sexual assault victims, the establishment of sexual violence liaison officers in the New Jersey State Police and local law enforcement agencies and mandating training for county prosecutors and assistant prosecutors to improve the investigation of and response to sexual assault reports.
Why the state created VIVA
Researchers have found that victims of violent crimes are more likely to engage in future violence. Additionally, violence disproportionately impacts communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community and costs the state more than $5 billion every year. Advocates believe that VIVA will be able to enact programs that will disrupt the cycle of violence and better support survivors of sexual abuse and other violent crimes.
According to supporters, VIVA can be a “game changer” for survivors and make New Jersey communities safer for everyone.