In June 2017, comedian Bill Cosby will stand trial for aggravated indecent assault of a woman in his Montgomery County home more than a decade ago. The following fact sheet provides important context on sexual violence, including victim behavior and trauma, offender dynamics, and the use of drugs and alcohol to perpetrate sexual violence, to members of the media covering the trial and other interested parties.

These documents support the June 2016 online xCHANGE Forum: Exploring restorative justice and cultural relevance. This forum explores current research and best practices that involves cases of sexual violence and the culturally unique needs of our communities.

Offender Apology Package


Client Evaluation Package (Bend, Oregon)


How Restorative Is Your Agency Assessment


Sample Victim Impact Statement

 

View the entire archive of the xCHANGE forum

The guidance, through a series of detailed case examples, advises law enforcement agencies to incorporate the following principles into clear policies, comprehensive training and effective supervision protocols:

  • Recognize and address biases, assumptions and stereotypes about victims.
  • Treat all victims with respect and employ interviewing tactics that encourage a victim to participate and provide facts about the incident.
  • Investigate sexual assault or domestic violence complaints thoroughly and effectively.
  • Appropriately classify reports of sexual assault or domestic violence.
  • Refer victims to appropriate services.
  • Properly identify the assailant in domestic violence incidents.
  • Hold officers who commit sexual assault or domestic violence accountable.
  • Maintain, review and act upon data regarding sexual assault and domestic violence.

This practitioner focused report of findings from a national research project on Sexual Assault Response Team functioning and effectiveness.

The full version of the technical research report to the National Institute of Justice is available online.
Scientific publications of the data in peer-reviewed journals with full methodological details are also available.

Cover of the PDF version of Five Things Things About Sexual Assault Kits

 

This fact sheet from the National Insitute of Justice outlines what research has told us about sexual assault kits:

1. No one knows the number of kits nationwide that have not been submitted for testing.
2. Little is known about the age of unsubmitted kits.
3. Submitting a kit to a crime lab does not mean the lab will obtain usable DNA.
4. Even if the police have a suspect, testing a kit can be useful for a number of reasons.
5. The cost to test a sexual assault kit varies widely.

 


This report provides research results about Houston's victim notification process. In Houston, victim notification involves reestablishing contact with victims whose cases are reopened for investigation as a result of a match in the law enforcement database Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), from
victims’ recently tested sexual assault kits (SAKs).This action research assesses the implementation of the Complainant Notification and Hotline Protocols
by interviewing a small number of victims about their experience with notification by Houston Police Department investigators and the justice advocate, an advocate for victims.
 
The data analysis revealed multiple themes from victims’ notification experience, including:
  • Victims appreciated having more choice/control.
  • The time lapse had an important effect on their experience of moving on from the assault.
  • Several victims were trying to make meaning of their experience.
  • Deciding about whether to participate in their case going forward created a moral dilemma for some victims.
  • Victims faced many barriers in their current lives.
  • The notification process created both danger and opportunity for victims.
  • The uncertainty about the case outcome weighed heavily upon victims.

Additional reports from this research project can be found at: www.houstonsakresearch.org.

This report includes research on creating victim notification protocols.  Six major themes emerged from survey respondents regarding the process of developing and implementing the Protocols. They include: 1)Strategic planning, 2) Organizational support, 3) Active partnerships, 4) Resources, 5) Outreach, and 6)Victim-centered approach. Of the six themes, researchers identified the victim-centered approach as significant to the process of developing and implementing victim notification protocols.

Additional reports from this research project can be found at: www.houstonsakresearch.org.

This report describes research on victim and professional perspectives on the delivery of victim notification procedures, implementation of new victim notification processes, victim engagement within the criminal justice system, and recommendations for improvements.

Victims and professionals made five recommendations.

  • Law enforcement should not assume that a victim does or does not want to be notified.
  • All victims should be given the opportunity to be notified, and the decision for notification should be a choice provided to all victims instead of something imposed on them by someone else.
  • Mechanisms for notification should be flexible and thoughtful and incorporate choices for victims.
  • Victims should have a choice in whether their case moves forward based on DNA testing.
  • Resources and support are imperative to the notification process.

Additional reports from this research project can be found at: www.houstonsakresearch.org.

A new report describes findings about unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan. A multidisciplinary team investigated the situation and found a number of effective and sustainable responses and ways to prevent the problem from recurring.

The team found several underlying “risk factors” that contributed to the large quantity of unsubmitted SAKs in Detroit, including:

  1. Victim-blaming beliefs and behaviors by police.
  2. No written protocol for submitting kits to the lab for testing.
  3. Budget cuts that reduced the number of law enforcement and crime lab personnel.
  4. High turnover in police leadership.
  5. Lack of community-based victim advocacy services.

The final report gives a detailed look at their experience, including lessons learned from performing a census of SAKs, uncovering factors that contributed to the problem, testing of a sample of 1,600 kits, and developing victim-centered, trauma-informed notification protocols.

This STRATEGIES in Brief from AEQuitas explains the legal requirements for establishing penetration in sexual assault prosecutions and offers strategies for effectively identifying, evaluating, and presenting evidence of penetration.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Criminal Justice