Crimes Against Women & Children (CAWAC)
The Crimes Against Women & Children Unit is composed of a Deputy District Attorney, ten Senior Assistant District Attorneys, nine investigators, four paralegals, a Senior Administrative Assistant, and one legal assistant, as well as law students who occasionally serve as interns. Additionally, there is a Director of Forensic Services, who assists in the assessment of physically and sexually abused children prior to indictment; participates in the preparation of both children and adult victims in anticipation of trial; and, frequently testifies as an expert witness in court.
The Crimes Against Women & Children Unit practices vertical prosecution, a philosophy of having one specialized prosecution team manage a case from indictment through disposition. At any one time, the unit handles over four hundred indicted cases and provides pre-indictment assistance to all Fulton County Law Enforcement Agencies, as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in the investigations of sexual assault cases involving children and adults; physical abuse of children cases; aggravated stalking and domestic violence cases; Human Trafficking cases; and Sexual Exploitation of Children cases, as well as those involving the possession, distribution and/or production of child pornography via the internet. CAWAC currently boasts an eighty three percent conviction rate, one of the highest in the nation for these types of offenses.
In 1998, the newly created Crimes Against Women & Children Unit began to focus on the ever increasing demand for minor children in the underground sex industry. Since that date, the CAWAC unit has indicted and prosecuted over fifty cases involving pimps who have preyed on Atlanta’s children, some as young as eleven years old.
In 2011, the Office of the District Attorney received a grant from the United States Department of Justice to focus on Child Exploitation, with a specific emphasis on Human Trafficking. With these funds, one Senior Assistant District Attorney and one Senior Investigator work exclusively on the sexual exploitation of children in the sex trade industry.
CAWAC attorneys also train law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim witness service providers, and medical personnel in preparing and prosecuting sexual assault cases. In 2011, the Office of the District Attorney paired with the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia, in hosting the first Summit on Combating Human Trafficking. Subsequently, CAWAC attorneys participated in conferences on Human Trafficking in the Northern and Southern Districts of Georgia, alongside Assistant United States Attorneys.
CAWAC Attorneys are frequently asked to address medical interns and residents affiliated with Grady Memorial Hospital in preparation for testimony regarding sexual assault victims they have treated in the emergency room. In the Spring of 2012, CAWAC attorneys participated in a 4-day training of SANE (Sexual Assault Nurses) nurses, sponsored by Emory University Department of Emergency Medicine and Grady Hospital.