DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - We hear a lot about the rights of people who are accused of a crime, but what about the rights of the crime victim? In fact, what rights do victims have, and who guides them through the legal process? In Morgan County, Sheriff Ana Franklin says she believes the victims of crime deserve just as much consideration as the accused. That has led to the creation of a special victims unit to assist the victims of violent crime.
Sgt. Pete Taylor has spent many years as a patrol officer. He says in his new assignment, in the Special Victims Unit, he'll be able to address the needs of crime victims. "Most of the time our victims are children, and they have to be treated in a special way," Taylor says.
Taylor says whether it's child abuse, sexual abuse or domestic violence, his unit is there for the victim. He says they'll make certain the victim's rights are protected, that victims understand the legal process and that they know what to expect. He says, "It's not like catching a thief, it's catching a violator who has often times violated small children, school kids, and so forth and we deserve that kind of protection here in Morgan County."
Sheriff Ana Franklin says the creation of a Spacial Victims Unit had been a goal of hers even while she was campaigning for the office. She says all too often, law enforcement will focus on the offender and very little attention is given to the victims of crime. And she says that's what the SVU will do.
The Morgan County Special Victims Unit is also charged with keeping up with convicted, registered sex offenders, and making certain they're abiding by the law.