The Special Victims Unit provides specialized assistant district attorneys, victim witness advocates and state police troopers that focus on cases of rape and sexual assault. The unit, formerly the Sexual Assault Unit, was established in 1977 and utilizes a collaborative approach in the investigation and prosecution of these victim-sensitive cases. The assistant district attorneys and victim witness advocates handle cases from each district court in Norfolk County and in the Superior Court. Assistant district attorneys work closely with victim witness advocates, local police departments, Norfolk Advocates for Children (the child advocacy center), and the state police so victims are apprised of each step of the case. The unit strives to vigorously prosecute these cases while attempting to minimize further trauma to victims.
The goal of the Special Victims Unit is to provide comprehensive services to victims during a difficult, confusing and sometimes overwhelming experience. The unit is specially trained to handle the private and complex issues that arise when an individual is the victim of a sexual offense and/or unwarranted abuse. The victim witness advocates in the unit keep victims and their families informed of the status of cases, answer questions regarding the court process, prepare victims and witnesses for court, and accompany victims and witnesses to court proceedings. The advocates also provide referrals for counseling, medical care, and victim compensation.
A Brief Overview of Sexual Assault Offenses
Rape (Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) ch. 265, § 22 (b)): “natural or unnatural sexual intercourse” by force and against a person’s will. “Natural or unnatural intercourse” includes penetration of the genital area or anus by a penis, finger, tongue or object. Maximum penalty is 20 years.
Aggravated Rape (MGL c. 265, § 22 (a)): Rape committed with acts causing serious bodily injury, with joint enterprise, or during the commission of certain felonies. Maximum penalty is life.
Statutory Rape (MGL ch. 265, § 23): “natural or unnatural sexual intercourse” with a child under the age of 16. A child under the age of 16 cannot consent to intercourse. Maximum penalty is life.
Rape of a Child with Force (MGL ch. 265, § 22A): “natural of unnatural sexual intercourse” with a child under sixteen by force and against child’s will. Maximum penalty is life.
Aggravated Rape of Child Due to Age Difference (MGL ch. 265, § 23A): “natural or unnatural sexual intercourse” with a child under sixteen and either (a) more than 5 year age difference and child under 12, (b) more than 10 year age difference and child 12-16, or (c) defendant is mandated reporter. Maximum penalty is life, minimum penalty is 10 years.
Aggravated Forcible Rape of Child (MGL ch. 265, § 22B): “natural or unnatural sexual intercourse” with a child under sixteen by force and against child’s will and either (a) committed during commission or attempted commission of certain felonies, (b) results in substantial bodily injury, (c) committed while victim tied, bound or gagged, (d) committed after defendant administered alcohol or drugs without consent, (e) committed by joint enterprise, or (f) in a manner in which victim could contract STD and defendant knew or should have known was carrier. Maximum penalty is life, minimum penalty is 15 years.
Indecent Assault and Battery on Person Over 14 (MGL ch. 265, § 13H): an indecent assault and battery is a touching that is “fundamentally offensive to contemporary moral values” including the touching of the breasts, buttocks and genitals. Maximum penalty is 5 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of corrections.
Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under 14 (MGL ch. 265, §13B): a touching of the breasts, buttocks or genitals of a child under the age of 14. A child under 14 cannot consent to an indecent touching. Maximum penalty is 10 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of correction.
Aggravated Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under 14 (MGL 265 § 13B 1/2): touching committed during certain felony offense or if defendant is mandated reporter. Maximum penalty is life, minimum penalty is 10 years.
Indecent Assault and Battery on Person with Intellectual Disability (MGL c. 265 §13F): indecent touching on person with intellectual disability. Maximum penalty is 10 years state prison, minimum penalty is 5 years.
Indecent Assault and Battery on Elder or Disabled Person (MGL ch. 265, § 13H): indecent touching of person with permanent or long-term physical or mental impairment. Maximum penalty is 10 years state prison or 2 ½ years house of correction.
IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OR WITNESS OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT, PLEASE CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY.