This guide examines the use of polygraph tests and other truth-telling devices (sometimes called “lie-detector tests”) in sexual assault investigations. It is meant to support the Violence Against Women Act and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (VAWA 2005) provision that truth-telling devices must not be used with sexual assault victims as a condition of charging or prosecution of an offense. This guide examines special issues relevant to using truth-telling devices with sexual assault victims. Legislative and judicial actions that have been taken as a result of this debate will also be discussed. Victim advocates, law enforcement officers, and policy makers may use this guide to develop policies, practices, and procedures and to improve collaborations regarding the use of truth-telling devices as the VAWA 2005 provision is adopted across the United States. 

The review examines the existing peer-reviewed scholarly and grey literature from industrialized and developing regions. Over 400 items on sexual assault, including books, journal articles, news articles, research reports, annual reports, discussion papers and monographs were examined. The review outlines the historical and contemporary medico-legal responses to sexual assault victims, broadly describing the professionals, protocols and procedures involved in the collection and processing of medico-legal evidence. Findings are presented from studies that have evaluated the legal impact of such evidence in sexual assault cases, and factors that may create barriers to its successful use in criminal justice proceedings are discussed. The review identifies salient knowledge gaps and offers research recommendations for addressing them.
The Uses And Impacts Of Medico-Legal Evidence In Sexual Assault Cases: A Global Review

 The Office for Victims of Crime is pleased to announce the release of the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report, the first comprehensive assessment of the victim assistance field in nearly 15 years. The Vision 21 initiative gave participants the opportunity to engage with a broad spectrum of service providers, advocates, criminal justice professionals, allied practitioners, and policymakers to address crime victim issues through a lens broader than their everyday work. The result of this collective examination, the report seeks to permanently transform the way crime victims are treated in this country. The Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report discusses the following:

  • Major challenges to the integration of research into victim services.
  • The tremendous need for crime victims to have access to legal assistance to address the wide range of legal issues that can arise following victimization.
  • The impact of advances in technology, globalization, and changing demographics on the victim assistance field.
  • The capacity for serving victims in the 21st century and some of the infrastructure issues that must be overcome to reach that capacity.

Furthermore, the final report outlines recommendations for beginning the transformative change, which fall into the following four broad categories:

  • Conducting continuous rather than episodic strategic planning in the victim assistance field to effect real change in research, policy, programming, and capacity building.
  • Supporting research to build a body of evidence-based knowledge and generate, collect, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data on victimization, emerging victimization trends, services and behaviors, and victims’ rights enforcement efforts.
  • Ensuring the statutory, policy, and programmatic flexibility to address enduring and emerging crime victim issues.
  • Building and institutionalizing capacity through an infusion of technology, training, and innovation to ensure that the field is equipped to meet the demands of the 21st century.

This toolkit is designed to assist law enforcement agencies develop U-visa certification policies/protocols to enable immigrant victims of crime to access the U-visa.  The toolkit was created with input from law enforcement officers and contains legal info, sample policies, FAQs, and information useful helpful for advocacy efforts.

This fact sheet provides an overview of the TVPA, the goals of the TVPA to prevent human trafficking, protect victims and prosecute traffickers, and a brief overview of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003.
Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 Fact Sheet

This booklet gives basic information about how the legal system responds to allegations of child sexual abuse.  The booklet is divided into several chapters: emotional recovery, effects of child sexual abuse, who commits sexual abuse, disclosures of child sexual abuse, as well as other important chapters that provide important information for parents of children who have been sexually abused.
Understanding the Legal System When Your Child Has Been Sexually Assaulted

"This monograph will explore different psychological and behavioral responses to sexual violence and why these responses appear to be 'counterintuitive' to the general public."
Victim Responses to Sexual Assault: Counterintuitive or Simply Adaptive?

This law was enacted in October 2000. It provides protection and assistance for victims of trafficking and includes the authorization of educations and public awareness campaigns as part if its prevention measures.
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000

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