RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The nonprofit research institute, RTI International, released a new publication to help criminal justice agencies create strategic, sustainable plans for improved responses to sexual assault that aligns with current best practices and national recommendations. Using Enacting an Improved Response to Sexual Assault: A Criminal Justice Practitioner’s Guide, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies will be able to create processes with milestones, goals, and suggested actions, all designed to support a successful and sustainable approach for addressing sexual assault cases.
“Improving the criminal justice system’s response to sexual assault ultimately improves public safety and promotes trust between criminal justice agencies and the communities they serve,” said Patricia A. Melton, Ph.D., a senior research forensic scientist in the Investigative Science Program of RTI’s Center for Policing Research and Investigative Science and author of this guide. “By supporting sustainable change, these guidelines can empower agencies to actively reform sexual assault response, provide the best opportunity for a just resolution and implement a trauma-informed, victim-centered policy and practice regarding these crimes.”
Published by RTI Press, “improved response” to sexual assault cases is defined as an approach that supports effective investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases, holds perpetrators accountable, and promotes healing and recovery for victims of sexual assault.
Although one agency can certainly spark a wider improved response to sexual assault, this guide, in alignment with national recommendations, emphasizes bringing together a multidisciplinary advisory committee (MDAC) as the core group engaged in the review and improvement of policy and practice associated with sexual assault response. Effective MDAC should have representation from all disciplines associated with sexual assault response, including forensic medical personnel, forensic scientists, law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim advocates.
View or download a full copy of the publication: www.rti.org/rti-press-publication/improved-response-sexual-assault.
Read Patricia Melton's post on Insights, our blog, about how agencies can use this guide to address the public safety crisis of sexual assault