Special Victims Unit

In 2020 The University of Kentucky Police Department created a Special Victims Unit which consists of a Special Victims Unit Lieutenant, Detective, and Victims Advocate. These dedicated professionals help victims of interpersonal violence navigate through the criminal justice system with respect and integrity.

Mission

The mission of the Special Victims Unit is to provide compassionate support services to survivors of interpersonal violence while removing barriers of reporting. We are committed to holding offenders accountable within the criminal justice system by maintaining quality police services with timely, thorough, and trauma-informed investigative techniques.

Main Functions of Special Victims Unit

Outreach

Training

Investigations

Members of the Special Victims Unit participate in community outreach programs to help with prevention, provide self-defense training and reduce barriers to reporting.

Special Victims Unit members undergo specific training to provide a trauma-informed approach, minimize re-victimization, and treating survivors with compassion and respect.

SVU conducts thorough investigations of interpersonal violence incidents and helps guide survivors throughout the process and connect survivors to a variety of resources. 

Understanding Your Rights

A crime victim has the following rights:

· The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

· The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.

· The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.

· The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.

· The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.

· The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.

· The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.

· The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

· The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.

· The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims' Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 10607(c)) and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice.

SVU Contact Information

Special Victims Lieutenant

Name: Lt. Samantha Hess

Phone: 859-257-6672

samantha.hess@uky.edu