Special Victims Capabilities Division (SVCD)
In response to rising crime rates during the 1970s, victims of violent crimes initiated a grass roots initiative referred to as the Victims Movement. Over the next 30 years citizens expanded their efforts in responding to crime by influencing state and federal government to legislate harsher penalties for violent offenders and formal recognition for their victims. Ultimately, in 2012 the waves of criminal justice reform motivated Congress to mandate that violent crime in our military be more effectively addressed with specific focus on Special Victim Crimes including child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Since 2019, new spheres of training law enforcement, SHARP, and Family Advocacy Program personnel have been identified in the areas of cultural competency, animal abuse investigations, and critical thinking. The Special Victims Capabilities Division’s (SVCD) training programs are specifically designed to provide a higher level of proficiency and understanding of the complexities of special victim investigations. This specialized skill set is essential to the process of investigating and prosecuting offenders within DoD while providing the best victim response and resources available.
SVCD has met these demands by utilizing subject matter experts as core faculty within their courses, as well as bringing in nationally recognized experts to augment the instruction. The focus of these external experts has been on improving military readiness by the mitigation and prevention of offenses and victimization within the military organizational footprint through current evidence-based practices. Training is designed to enhance identification, apprehension, investigation, interrogation, and prosecution of serious and violent offenders through better understanding of the psychological and motivational factors of offender behavior as well as victim-offender relationships and victimology. Through improved understanding of the dynamics of victim behavior and interaction with potential offenders, training is also designed to inform on prevention, mitigation, and response to victimization. Multiple reports on the handling of special victims’ cases state the necessity of having state of the art training and resources to those in respond to, investigate, and prosecute these crimes.
Each of the courses have a variety of DoD personnel attending including Department of Defense Criminal Investigators, MCIO accredited Special Agents from the USACID, CGIS, and NCIS, Marine CID, Special Victims Prosecutors and paralegals, Special Victims Counselors, Military Police Investigators, DA and Military Police officers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, Family Advocacy Victim Advocates, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, criminal analysists, and other military officer and enlisted members. As such, guest instructor invited to the courses need to be able to teach their expertise to an eclectic group while having a deep understanding of the military community and dynamics involved. Until staffing levels within the division are adequate, these blocks of instruction provided by the following nationally recognized experts are imperative to continued best-practice and relevant training.
Finally, TF-CBT, PSB-CY, CAPIT, DVIT all have, or are pending award of continuing education credits (CEUs) for FAP personnel. These CEUs are awarded based upon the course content as well as the credentials and qualifications of the instructors who present the class.
SVCD Core Courses
Dr. Nicole Cunningham
SVCD Deputy Chief
CW3 Blake Furman