newsCO.com.au –NYPD wants new headquarters for SVU so victims feel safer

August 14, 2017

The NYPD wants a new state-of-the-art headquarters for its Special Victims Unit so that women already traumatized by a sex attack don’t have to trek to the current facility in an East Harlem crime hot spot, The Post has learned.

The SVU now shares space with Police Service Area 5 at 221 E. 123rd St., so victims often find themselves seated in the same waiting area as vagrants and junkies, sources said.

“It’s a disgusting facility. You bring sex crime victims in, a lot of them tourists, and they sit down in the waiting room with a bum literally sleeping on the same bench,” a police source said.

“You have a person who’s a possible victim of a traumatic event and now you are traumatizing them further by having them visit this s–thole of a building.”

Police brass at first was scouting sites in lower Manhattan but is now looking to stay in Harlem, with SVU in its own facility in a less intimidating locale.

“The new facility is not going to share space, so victims won’t have to deal with that element at all,” the source added.

Cops assigned to the unit will also be happier because of the move, the source added.

“The members of SVU are very much looking forward to a change of location. The current facility we’re in is not friendly towards us or toward victims. It’s in a horrible neighborhood. The building is disgusting,” the source said.

He noted that people in the office have fans on their desks because the AC doesn’t work.

Their cars get vandalized outside the facility, the basement floods and the bathrooms would gross out even the rankest vagrant.

The laundry list of problems was first reported by The Post in September 2015, when sources charged that the facility was not only a mess but posed a danger to victims, many of them tourists unused to the reality of the Big Apple’s underside.

At that time, some victims shared their horror stories after appearing at the headquarters.

“It is one of the scariest f–king places that I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said a woman who went to the building to report that she had been drugged and raped.

“You’re scared out of your mind when you’re reporting the rape to begin with. If you’re concerned for your well-being while you’re at Special Victims, it makes it more difficult to tell your story,” she said.

Another rape victim said the first time she went to the SVU, she took the subway there with a couple of female friends.

“My friends were surrounding me and trying to make me feel safer,’’ she said. “Telling my story about what happened to me is one of the hardest things I had to do.”

The NYPD had said that victims are provided rides to and from the police station — but the source said that’s rarely the case.
“That was what was said. That’s not what takes place,” he said.

The source said The Post’s article got the ball rolling on the search for a new site.

“After the article, it started. They were embarrassed by the article and they started making plans then,” the source said.

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