The Division's investigative focus is violence within domestic relationships, children and our elderly community, balancing the impact to survivors, while utilizing victim assistance services with its community partners. The Family Services Division consists of the Special Victims Unit and the Child Abuse Team.
Special Victims Unit (SVU)
The Special Victims Unit serves survivors of domestic violence, vulnerable adults, and elder crime victims.
The Special Victims Unit is a unique collaboration between the Portland Police Bureau, the Multnomah County Domestic Violence Crisis Response Unit (DVCRU), Multnomah County Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT), Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and other community partners.
This partnership is central to assisting survivors of domestic violence, elder crimes, and crimes against vulnerable adults. Having victim advocates co-located with police officers increases resources for victims, as well as helps advocate and address the barriers victims may face when negotiating their way through abuse situations.
Victim advocates and police investigators work in a team fashion. Together, they review and select cases, make contacts with abuse survivors, conduct detailed interviews, assess enforcement options, and offer advocacy services.
Victim advocates work with clients referred via the restraining order process, police reports, and community partners. Primary advocate services include making in-person contact with victims, offering safety planning, providing information & referrals, assisting with problem solving, providing transportation and accompaniment to court hearings, facilitating access to other social services, and providing emotional support.
Specially trained Portland Police investigators review reports from the initial responding officers, assessing each case in order to prioritize incidents requiring follow-up investigation. They make attempts to contact the victims and witnesses to obtain additional information, providing referrals to victims for appropriate services, while also attempting to contact and arrest perpetrators. When the legal requirements are satisfied, officers refer cases to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and/or the United States Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution.
Resources prevent the Special Victims Unit from investigating every case, but it prides itself on serving the underrepresented population of the city, with a substantial number of survivors/families representing minority communities.
Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team
Child Abuse Team (CAT)
CAT is one member of a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) that includes the District Attorney’s Office, Department of Human Services, Cares Northwest and others. Its goal is to lessen any negative impact of services to the child victim; to minimize the number of victim interviews; to prevent the abuse of other potential victims; to increase the effectiveness of prosecution of both criminal and dependency cases; and to provide information to the involved agencies in a coordinated and efficient manner.